A trio of B-2s from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., arrived in Iceland on Aug. 24, ahead of a Bomber Task Force mission in which they will conduct training across Europe and Africa.
The bombers and their crews, from the 509th Bomb Wing, will integrate with NATO allies and regional partners during their deployment.
“Regularly cooperating bomber activities with allies and partners helps us better address challenges in today’s complex global security environment,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, in a press release. “Strong partnerships are essential to our ability to deter, defend, and win.”
The deployment will also help crews with theater familiarity to enhance readiness and provide necessary training.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, all personnel involved in the mission were screened before departure and entered a period of quarantine after arrival.
The concept of deploying bombers to new locations as part of task forces as opposed to a continuous presence outside the U.S. was first introduced in April 2020 and was championed by then-Global Strike Command boss Gen. Timothy M. Ray.
In February, Ray said the Bomber Task Forces had increased morale and readiness, provided new training opportunities, and strengthened partnerships while projecting the Air Force’s global reach and power. At the time, he said the service was planning on “expanding beyond the normal” locations like Fairford, U.K.; Diego Garcia; Moron, Spain; and Guam.
While Ray retired in July and was replaced by Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, BTFs have taken place across the globe as of late. One mission to Orland Air Force Station, Norway, in particular was a first, with B-1Bs from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, conducting several training missions in the Arctic region. B-2s from Whiteman were also deployed in March to Lajes Field, Portugal, in the Azores and flew several training missions with the B-1Bs in Norway, as well as Norwegian F-35s from Iceland.