Three USAF B-52s flew through the Baltic Sea region on Aug. 31, training with aircraft from six nations and flying over Latvia just days after a Russian aircraft reportedly violated NATO airspace to intercept another B-52.
During the Aug. 31 flight, the B-52s, which are deployed as part of the bomber task force at RAF Fairford, U.K., trained with aircraft from Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Portugal, then flew over Riga, Latvia, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release. A USAF KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall, U.K., supported the bomber flight.
“It’s been an active first week for BTF. After accomplishing an impressive feat with a single-day mission that overflew 30 NATO countries, we continue to visibly demonstrate our capability to extend deterrence globally,” USAFE boss Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said in a release. “Our forward presence in the Baltic Sea region today shows our solidarity with NATO and sends a clear deterrence message to any adversary.”
The flight comes after the Aug. 28 alleged NATO airspace incursion, during which a Russian Su-27 flew “well into Danish airspace” at the Island of Bornholm, according to NATO. The incursion happened the same day another Russian Su-27 conducted an “unsafe” intercept of a B-52 in the Black Sea, USAFE said. Both incidents happened as the bombers were conducting the “Allied Sky” flyover of all NATO nations.
On Sept. 1, Russian state media claimed another Russian Su-27 intercepted a German P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft in international airspace in the Baltic Sea.