USAF B-52 Bombers Fly Over Baltics Near Russian Territory

Two B-52 Stratofortresses from a U.S. Air Force bomber task force flew over the Baltics and Eastern Europe on May 28, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said.

The two B-52s are deployed to RAF Fairford, U.K., as part of a four-aircraft bomber task force from Air Force Global Strike Command’s 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. The BUFFs, operating as the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, took off around 8:30 a.m. for a roughly eight-hour flight.

A spokesperson for U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) told Air & Space Forces Magazine that the pair of B-52s were escorted by two Spanish F-18 Hornets, two Polish MiG-29s, and five total German Eurofighter Typhoons at different points in the exercise as the strategic bombers “flew over the Baltic region” during the mission on May 28.

According to publicly available flight tracking data, at one point, the B-52s flew roughly a few dozen kilometers from Russian territory in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland, and flew around the territory again on the way back to the U.K. The B-52s circled over Lithuania and also flew through Dutch, German, and Polish airspace.

The bomber task force mission is “a demonstration of NATO allies and partner nations’ ability to seamlessly operate together to maintain a stable and prosperous Baltic Sea region,” the USAFE spokesperson said. “This sends a strong message to potential adversaries, deters aggression, enhances stability, and assures Euro‐Atlantic publics.”

NATO Allied Air Command said on May 24 that the BTF was operating in “a NATO context with one focus on the Baltic region.” Another bomber task force made up of B-1s is operating in the Pacific out of Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, but the Air Force has released few details about that deployment so far.

Two B-52s from the BTF flew north over the Baltic Sea to launch the bomber task force on May 24. The Swedish military announced that the bombers practiced striking land-based targets in an exercise with Sweden’s Navy.

On May 29, two B-52s flew circles over the North Sea. USAFE did not immediately provide details of the mission.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on May 30 with additional details.