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B-1B Lancer bombers complete first deployment under Large Scale Global Exercise 2024

Source: U.S. European Command, Defence Industry Europe

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., conducted a cross-combatant command mission from their deployed location at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, in support of Global Guardian, Feb. 29, 2024.

 

The aircraft departed from Sweden, crossed into the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility and completed their deployment by returning to their home base near Rapid City, S.D.

At various intervals of the mission across northern Europe, the bombers were accompanied by an array of aircraft – including fuelers and fighters – from Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.

Exercise Global Guardian was a culminating event of Bomber Task Force 24-2, the first strategic bomber deployment under Large Scale Global Exercise 2024. Nations participating in Global Guardian included Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

 

 

The objectives of this particular mission were to exercise multinational cooperation, demonstrate collective deterrence and test air defence capabilities. To achieve this, the B-1s flew as a simulated adversary and received intercepts from various NATO fighter aircraft across the Arctic, North Sea, and the Greenland, Iceland and U.K. gap. All training objectives were met.

“This serves as a stellar illustration of NATO’s collective deterrence and air defence capabilities,” said Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command. “In the face of today’s uncertain global security landscape, preparedness for any scenario is paramount. Through this exercise, we enhance interoperability within the NATO Alliance, reinforcing our commitment to collaborative efforts that foster international security and stability.”

 

 

Sweden’s status as a NATO invitee, soon to be a full-fledged member, has meant increased integration of the country into NATO’s military structures and operations.

“The U.S. is one of our most important partners and having them here at the base is very good logistic training for us to be able to host,” said Swedish Air Force Col. Peter Greberg, Norrbotten Wing commander. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t fly on the mission myself, but I heard that it was really, really good. Being a bomber escort is not something we do regularly, so that was very good training.”

Greberg also shared his hopes for the future of the U.S.-Sweden partnership.

 

 

“Joining NATO means bringing our two countries together,” he added. “I’m looking forward to that and having more opportunities to train.”

The U.S. routinely demonstrates its commitment to NATO Allies and partners through BTF missions. Through these missions, USAFE-AFAFRICA enables dynamic force employment in the European theater, providing strategic predictability and assurance for Allies and partners while contributing to deterrence by introducing greater operational unpredictability for potential adversaries.

Regular and routine deployments of U.S. strategic bombers also provide critical touch points to train and operate alongside our Allies and partners while bolstering a collective response to any global conflict.

 

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