B-52s Fly Over NATO Allies in Southeastern Europe

Having arrived in Europe just a few days ago, B-52s from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., executed low approach flyovers over four NATO allies in the Balkans region Aug. 22.

The pair of B-52 bombers, from the 23rd Bomb Squadron, flew over North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia over the course of roughly an hour, “to demonstrate U.S. commitment and assurance to NATO Allies and partners located in Southeastern Europe,” according to a release from U.S. Air Forces in Europe. 

“Additionally, this will provide citizens an opportunity to take photos, videos, and enjoy the aircraft flying overhead,” the release stated.

Images from the flight quickly circulated on social media, with the iconic bomber flying over the capitals of North Macdeonia and Albania.

No exercises or integration with those nations were announced as part of the flyover.

The two B-52s form half of the contingent of bombers that arrived at RAF Fairford, U.K., as part of a bomber task force mission. On top of their flight in southeastern Europe, the Airmen and aircraft have also already integrated with fighters from Norway and Sweden.

The bombers’ flyover is the latest sign of U.S. air power in a region where smaller states have requested an increased U.S. presence to counter Russian aggression in the lead-up to and following its invasion of Ukraine.

In March, F-16s from Aviano Air Base, Italy, deployed to Croatia and participated in agile combat employment exercises alongside Croatian MiG-21s. In June, F-35s from the Vermont Air National Guard landed in North Macedonia and ​​performed rapid refueling and crew swaps.

And B-52s have spent time in the region as well. In June, bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., flew on the other side of the peninsula over the Black Sea. And in June 2021, B-52s flew over the Balkans as part of one continuous sweep over every NATO nation.