A pair of B-2 stealth bombers forward deployed to RAF Fairford, England, for training with allies, announced US military officials. This deployment comes of the heels of last week’s dispatch of a trio of B-52s there for exercises with NATO partners. “The training and integration of strategic forces demonstrates to our nation’s leaders and our allies that we have the right mix of aircraft and expertise to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations,” said US Strategic Command boss Adm. Cecil Haney in a June 8 Fairford release. “This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” he added. The B-2s arrived from Whiteman AFB, Mo., on June 8. The United States and NATO have upped exercises in the region to reassure Eastern European allies of their commitment under the shadow of Russia’s recent aggression. Three allied exercises are scheduled this month in US European Command’s area of responsibility: two in the Baltic region and one in the Black Sea area. (Fairford release) (EUCOM release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.