B-52s Deploy to England for Exercises

Three B-52 bombers dispatched from the United States arrived on Wednesday at RAF Fairford, England, for training and exercises with US and allied military forces in Europe, announced Air Force officials. The B-52s did not bring live weapons into Britain, they said. This deployment is the first for B-52s to England since the opening stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Expected to last about two weeks, it is one of the US force rotations in and around Europe since the unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. “This particular deployment is a temporary one,” Brig. Gen. Michael Fortney, Air Force Global Strike Command’s director of operations, told Air Force Magazine during a recent interview at the command’s headquarters at Barksdale AFB, La. The B-52s will support two US European Command exercises and will also fly other “single-sortie” training missions, said Fortney. An Air Force advanced echelon team recently visited Fairford—a standby airfield—to ensure it was prepared to support the B-52s, said AFGSC officials during the Barksdale visit. Two of the B-52s are from Barksdale; the other is from Minot AFB, N.D. One of them will participate in the upcoming 70th anniversary D-Day commemoration in Graignes, France. (See also US Strategic Command release.)