Danish and Portuguese aircraft escorted the U.S. B-1 bombers during their transit to and from the Baltic Sea Region. Allied and Partner cooperation during training flights provides essential reinforcement of communication protocols, build trust and enhances interoperability. Different U.S bomber squadrons visit Europe to increase familiarisation with Allied aircrews and airspace during regular Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions.
Having Allied fighters work shoulder to shoulder with US bombers during these BTF missions solidifies vital relationships and ensures Alliance aircrews are ready to respond collectively to protect our airspace
"Having Allied fighters work shoulder to shoulder with US bombers during these BTF missions solidifies vital relationships and ensures Alliance aircrews are ready to respond collectively to protect our airspace," said Major General Joerg Lebert, Allied Air Command Chief of Staff.
Lithuanian and American JTACs also coordinated with the bomber crews during the mission above the Baltic States. Allied JTACs directly communicate with fighter and bomber aircrew when the aircraft are providing support to ground forces. Peacetime drilling of Air-Land Integration (ALI) such as this ensures the highest level of combat readiness for Alliance forces.
On the return leg of the mission, the B-1s landed at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany for the first time ever to undertake hot pit refuelling by staff from the USAF 52nd Fighter Wing with new Versatile Integrating Partner Equipment Refuelling (VIPER) kit. This specialist equipment enables refuelling while the aircraft's engines are still on, thereby allowing it to rapidly take-off after landing and operate from austere airfields at any forward staging locations.
Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions are a routine peacetime measure designed to train US bomber aircraft and crews with Allied colleagues across Europe.