Ellsworth B-1s, Swedish Gripens Partner for First Time

B-1Bs from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., integrated with Swedish Gripens for the first time during a long-distance bomber task force sortie to Europe that included fighter jets from multiple allied countries.

The two B-1s, supported by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall, England, and a Dutch KDC-10 from Royal Netherlands Air Force Eindhoven Air Base, conducted close-air support training in Sweden at Vidsel Range, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe release.

“Long-range bomber training missions strengthen our steadfast partnerships with allies across both Europe and Africa and showcase our ability to respond globally from anywhere,” USAFE boss Gen. Jeff Harrigian said in the release. “This mission further enhances our interoperability capabilities by taking groundbreaking steps to incorporate our partners to generate seamless operations.”

The B-1s also partnered with F-35s from Norway’s Ørland Air Station for tactical sorties and were escorted by Royal Air Force Typhoons when flying through United Kingdom air space.

It is the second time in as many weeks that Ellsworth B-1s have flown long-range sorties to Europe. On May 11, B-1Bs flew with Polish F-16s and MiG-29s along with Danish F-16s during a task force flight.