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US B-52 bombers training in Europe.

| 2019

The U.S. Air Force has sent six B-52 long-range bombers to the United Kingdom for a series of training activities over Europe. The aircraft and over 450 airmen arrived at Royal Air Force base Fairford on March 14 from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

US B 52 bombers training in Europe A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress (Picture source: US Air Force)

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the deployment, saying: “This is a routine deployment, but it shows that the US nuclear umbrella protects Europe and demonstrates the unique capabilities the US could bring to Europe in a crisis. The B-52 deployment is yet another sign that the United States is strongly committed to NATO”.

The United States has deployed strategic bombers in Europe at least once a year since 2014. Since then, all three US bomber variants – the B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers – have deployed to Fairford airbase for exercises with European NATO Allies, including to Exercise Baltops and Exercise Sabre Strike.

Four B-52s "conducted flights to several places in Europe, including to the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea/Estonia and the Mediterranean Sea/Greece," the Air Force said.
B-52 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and RAF Fairford have also conducted "simultaneous theater familiarization training in the Indo-Pacific and Europe" as bombers "flew north to an area east of the Kamchatka Peninsula," near Russia.

The U.S. Strategic Command oversees the United States strategic and nuclear deterrent, including B-52 deployments. Forces assigned to the Command are on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deter strategic attacks against the U.S. and NATO allies.

The B-52 has been in use with the US Air Force since the 1950s and can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons.

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