Three B-52 Stratofortress bombers have landed at Royal Air Force Fairford, England, for a two-week deployment to “become familiar with airbases and operations in the region.” One of the planes is set to take part in D-Day celebrations in Normandy.
The bombers that have crossed Atlantic have come from two locations: two from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and one from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. All aircraft have arrived in the UK unarmed.
The B-52s will participate in various training exercises in the US European Command area of operations “providing opportunities for aircrews to sharpen skills in several key operational sets and become familiar with airbases and operations in the region.”
Though the ultimate destination of the B-52s has not been mentioned, it is most likely they will take part in the Baltops maritime exercise of 13 Baltic Sea region nations (beginning on June 6) and Saber Strike 2014, a US-Europe security cooperation exercise also conducted on the territory of three Baltic states (already underway, June 3-14).
Also during the deployment to Fairford, on June 7 one of the Stratofortresses will take part in celebrating the 70th anniversary D-Day commemoration in France’s Graignes, where leaders of the WWII Allies will flock, also to discuss the present political situation in Europe.
The B-52 Stratofortress strategic multirole subsonic bomber was designed as a powerful tool of nuclear deterrence, armed with nuclear bombs and cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. It can also perform conventional missions of air support using high-precision GPS and laser-guided bombs and conducing search and rescue and also tactical maritime operations.