Allied fighters from Poland, Romania, and Canadian aircraft assigned to enhanced Air Policing in Romania escorted the bombers during their flight. The bombers executed simulated weapons training in the Black Sea region, allowing the aircrews to practice their weapon employment.
The ability to rapidly deploy strategic bombers across Allied territory is vital to maintaining our 24/7 readiness
"The ability to rapidly deploy strategic bombers across Allied territory is vital to maintaining our 24/7 readiness," said General Jeff Harrigian, Commander Allied Air Command. "Integration with Allied fighters creates the necessary muscle memory for our aviators and permits NATO to project military power," he added.
A 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer, deployed in support of Bomber Task Force Europe 22-1, flies away after receiving fuel from a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker enroute to a Black Sea maritime targeting training mission, Oct. 19, 2021. The Bomber Task Force Europe mission series requires a joint and coalition force to support strategic bomber deployments within the European theater, which amplifies readiness and promotes interoperability between rotational bomber aircrew, NATO allies, and coalition partners. Photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron.
The extended length of the mission required air refuelling support from RAF Mildenhall's KC-135 Stratotankers and a Turkish Air Force KC-135. NATO air refuelling increases the combined effectiveness of the alliance by extending the range and duration of the strategic bomber missions.
Before returning to Fairford, the bomber crews completed a hot pit refuel on Incirlik Air Base. The crews practised crucial timesaving procedures to refuel the aircraft with a running engine for immediate take off.
Bomber Task Force missions are a routine peacetime measure designed to give US bomber aircraft and crews their crews experience of working in the European theatre and with partners from Allied nations.