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Oct 12 2021

Allied fighters, bombers and JTACs train together in the Baltic Sea Region

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Two US B-1 Bombers integrated with Allied fighters and practised close air support techniques with Allied Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) in Lithuania before returning to RAF Fairford, UK on October 11.

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.

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Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron fly over Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 11, 2021. Prior to their arrival at Spangdahlem the bombers integrated with Coalition JTACS from Lithuania and Air Force Special Operation Command's 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, coordinated with the bomber aircrews and identified simulated ground targets. The mission focused on enhancing readiness and interoperability for the controllers responsible for coordinating airstrikes to support ground forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chance Nardone)
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A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, to conduct a Bomber Task Force Europe mission, Oct. 11, 2021. Two B-1's participated in a BTF Europe training mission where the aircrew integrated with partner aircraft from the Baltic Nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colin Hollowell)
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Two B-1B Lancers, from Dyess Air Force Base's 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron currently operating from Royal Air Force Fairford, England, conduct hot pit refueling using the innovative Versatile Integrated Partner Equipment Refueling (VIPER) kit, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 11, 2021. This was in support of European Command's Bomber task Force 22-1 mission support series using the VIPER kit, a hot pit refuel tool, supporting Agile Combat Employment operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chance Nardone)

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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