Ellsworth B-1s conduct Bomber Task Force mission in Baltic region
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth conducted a long-range strategic Bomber Task Force mission to the Baltic region, May 5, 2020.
The flight, which lasted more than 25 hours, included integration and interoperability training with Danish F-16s overflying Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea. The B-1s also worked with Estonian Joint Terminal Air Controllers to provide training with inert devices at Tapa Range before conducting a formation low approach at Tallinn Airport, Estonia.
The recent pivot to the U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility from the Indo-Pacific region showcases the B-1’s long-range global strike capability, readiness and proficiency of 28th Bomb Wing aircrews to integrate with U.S. allies and partners. Additionally, aircrews are able to familiarize themselves with air bases, procedures and operations in different Geographic Combatant Command areas of operation.
“Our crews gain valuable experience operating in a region that some had not seen previously,” said Col. Richard Barksdale, the 28th Operations Group commander. “This mission honed integration with NATO allies and regional partners, and demonstrated our ability to effortlessly shift operations from one area of the globe to another in a short period of time.”
Forward bomber presence demonstrates the Air Force’s ability to execute flying missions, sustain readiness, contribute to stability in the European theater and sends a clear deterrence message to any potential adversary. These missions also allow the U.S. Department of Defense to meet global security objectives.
“Integrating bomber missions with our NATO allies and partners build enduring relationships that are capable of confronting a broad range of global challenges,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “When you see the capability and integration first hand, it is clear we have a force that stands ready to execute the mission.”
The B-1 can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Last time it was in Europe was October 2018.