LOOK: B-52 and B-1 Bombers Fly with Gripens over Stockholm

With Sweden poised to officially join NATO in the next few days, the U.S. Air Force celebrated March 6 with a rare double bomber flyover of a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-1 Lancer over Stockholm, accompanied by Swedish Air Force Gripens. 

U.S. Air Forces in Europe noted in a release that the bombers flew over Avicii Arena, Sweden’s Parliament House, the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, and more during their flyover. 

A spokesperson for Air Force Global Strike Command told Air & Space Forces Magazine that the B-52 came from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., while the B-1 came from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. 

Both bombers planned CONUS-to-CONUS mission, meaning they took off from the U.S. and intended to return without landing. The B-1 diverted, however, to RAF Fairford, U.K., the spokesman said, confirming social media sightings and reports. 

“The training was a great success and builds upon our already great relationship,” the spokesman added. 

“The strong and enduring bond between the United States and Sweden, rooted in mutual interests and shared values, is poised to reach new heights,” said USAFE commander Gen. James Hecker in a statement. “As Sweden prepares to join the NATO Alliance as its 32nd member, we eagerly anticipate deepening our collaboration with our Swedish Allies. Initiatives like this joint flyover are just the beginning, as we work together to advance international stability and security.”  

Such missions are signs of support, as when B-52s flew over North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia, in August 2022. A USAFE release at the time said the mission demonstrated “U.S. commitment and assurance to NATO Allies and partners located in Southeastern Europe.” Similarly, F-16s flew over Bosnia and Herzegovina in January in a show of force aimed at deterring “secessionist activity” by Bosnian Serbs. In May 2021, B-52s flew over every NATO nation in one flight.

Pairing the B-52 and B-1, however, is unusual. The Stockholm flyover marked a quick turnaround after two B-1s returned to Ellsworth March 1, concluding a Bomber Task Force deployment to Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden. The jets arrived Feb. 24 and flew surface attack, air interdiction, and close air support training missions with the Swedish Air Force. On their return, several NATO allies took turns practicing intercepts with the B-1.