B-2s Deploy To Iceland For Bomber Task Force In The Arctic Circle

B-2 Iceland


B-2 Iceland
One of many B-2s on the bottom at Keflavik on Aug. 13, 2023. (Picture screenshot from the 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs video)

The B-2s have returned to Keflavik for the primary time since 2021. It’s the primary deployment because the bomber has resumed flying following 5 months of security stand down.

Three B-2 Spirit bombers belonging to the 509th Bomb Wing from Whiteman Air Power Base, Missouri, landed in Keflavik, Iceland on Aug. 13, 2023, for BTF Europe 23-4. The deployment is the primary one because the stealth bomber fleet returned to regular operations on Might 22, 2023, after a 5-month safety stand down following the incident in December final 12 months.

On Dec. 10, 2022, one of many 20 stealth bombers of the 509BW skilled an unspecified in-flight malfunction that compelled the crew to hold out a profitable emergency touchdown on the on base’s solely runway 01/19. A fireplace erupted aboard the B-2 after touchdown inflicting injury to the plane. The incident got here little multiple 12 months after one other B-2A suffered a touchdown incident on the runway at Whiteman AFB.

The foundation reason behind the incident has not been disclosed.

It’s not clear how lengthy the B-2s will function from Iceland however BTF 23-4 doesn’t mark the primary time the stealth bombers deploy to Iceland: three Spirits operated from Keflavik for 2 and a half weeks, from late August to mid-September 2021, integrating and coaching with the U.Ok.’s storm fighter jets and Norway’s F-35s, and conducting prolonged deterrence missions within the Excessive North area of the Alliance.

Beforehand, in 2019, one the three B-2A stealth bombers deployed to RAF Fairford as a part of a Bomber Job Power, landed at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, marking the first landing of B-2 in Iceland. Again then, the “Spirit of Mississippi” (82-1071) performed hot-pit refueling, which is a technique of refueling an plane with out shutting down the engines, earlier than launching one other mission.

“Every bomber job pressure mission underscores the prowess of our armed forces in navigating right now’s intricate and unpredictable international safety terrain, with a deal with fostering stability, safety, and freedom throughout Europe.” mentioned Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe; U.S. Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Command in a public statement. “In resolute unity, the U.S. upholds our nation’s dedication to foster peace and stability in Europe, unwaveringly collaborating with Allies and companions to thwart challenges towards the sovereignty of countries throughout the area”

Main the expeditionary bomber crew on their deployment is Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, the commander of 393rd Bomb Squadron. He underscored the essence of dynamic pressure employment, describing it as a method that mixes strategic unpredictability with operational adaptability Lt. Col Kousgaard affirmed, “The B-2 bomber is arguably probably the most strategically vital airplane on the earth, however that doesn’t imply it’s rigid; dynamically deploying the bombers ahead is a singular and vital functionality.”

Two B-2 Spirits from Whiteman Air Power Base, Mo., arrive in Keflavik, Iceland to take part in a Bomber Job Power Europe operation with NATO allies, Aug. 13, 2023. BTFs present U.S. and NATO leaders with strategic choices to guarantee, deter and defend towards adversary aggression towards the Alliance, all through Europe, and throughout the globe. (U.S. Air Power photograph by Tech. Sgt. Heather Salazar)

Using Keflavik as a ahead working base for the B-2 is especially attention-grabbing, because it expands the capabilities of the stealth bomber nicely into the strategic Arctic area. In reality, B-2s don’t function away from Whiteman AFB, in Missouri, too usually: they’re able to hit their targets with very long round-trip missions from their homebase in CONUS (Continental U.S.) as demonstrated by their periodic trans-Atlantic training missionsextended nuclear deterrence sorties in the Korean Peninsula, in addition to throughout actual conflicts, such because the Libya Air War in 2011Allied Force in Serbia in 1999 or the extra recent air strike on ISIS in Libya. Just a few chosen abroad bases, like RAF Fairford, in UK; Lajes Area in Azores, Portugal; Andersen Air Power Base, in Guam; and Diego Garcia, an island of the British Indian Ocean Territory, an abroad territory of the UK, have hosted the bat-wing bombers for deployments.

As we now have reported intimately, the B-2 and B-1 fleets, can be each changed within the 2030s by the B-21 Raider, the U.S. Air Power’s subsequent stealth bomber constructed by Northrop Grumman that was unveiled on Dec. 2, 2022.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, masking aviation, protection, warfare, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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