110th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducts ally, partner training in the Arctic
By Airman 1st Class Victoria Hommel
/ Published September 10, 2021
KEFLAVIK AIR BASE, Iceland --
Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, along with approximately 200 Airmen, civilians and contractors, arrived at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, to participate in a Bomber Task Force mission.
Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate interoperability, flexibility, and readiness of Air Force Global Strike Airmen. Training in the U.S. European and U.S. Africa Command theaters helps to assure our allies and partners, and build strategic relationships to confront a broad range of global challenges.
“We have a very strong team made up of Air National Guard and active duty members from the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings, and we are ready to operate out of Keflavik Air Base and execute our mission in support of all European Command objectives,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Howard, 110th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander.
The deployment to Keflavik Air Base allowed the U. S. Air Force to demonstrate its ability to operate bombers out of different temporary locations across the European theater, in support of the DoD Arctic Strategy.
While the U.S. Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of aircraft and units for training and to support geographic combatant command objectives, this is a first-of-its-kind deployment for the B-2 bomber at Keflavik Air Base, which showcases the importance of assuring allies and partners.
During this BTF rotation bomber aircraft are integrating with aircraft from other Allied and partner nations and conducting advanced training designed to test escort procedures, stand-off weapon employment and the suppression and destruction of air defenses. The participating countries are able to align tactics, techniques and procedures and some are able to employ fifth-generation aircraft data sharing capabilities.
“These missions demonstrate the value of our continued presence and relationships,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “What our collective Airmen accomplish on these missions is vital to our alliance and maintaining agility as we move into the future.”
The ability to integrate and train with allies, partners and other U.S. military units provides combat credible forces across the entire theater. This interoperability showcases Airmen readiness, and the B-2’s ability to support global operations anytime, anywhere.
“The opportunity to train and conduct missions with our allies and partners is invaluable,” Howard said. “These missions allow our Airmen to enhance readiness and respond to any challenge across the globe. While the B-2 executed a hot pit refueling at Keflavik Air Base in 2019, this is the first time the B-2 has operated continuously from Iceland, and it is awesome to be a part of this historic deployment for Whiteman Air Force Base.”
The employment of bombers contributes to vigilance in all domains, as the Arctic is a strategic region of growing geopolitical and global importance. Working across the Joint Force is critical due to the vast distances and multi-domain challenges present in the region.
“The B-2 bomber is still the world’s premier stealth bomber,” Howard said. “Its low observable characteristics allow it to hold targets at risk for all Combatant Commanders, whether from home station or a forward operating location. Having the B-2s in theater in Iceland allows us to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. Also, conducting sorties with our allies and partners demonstrates and strengthens our shared commitment to global security and stability.”
As the 110th conducts missions to enhance the readiness and training necessary for Airmen to respond to potential disasters or challenges across the globe, Keflavik Air Base provides a strategic stepping stone in the European theater that assures mission success.
The B-2’s presence is a symbol of assurance and commitment to our allies and partners. By conducting missions from new forward operating locations, Whiteman AFB Airmen demonstrate their ability to operate across the globe and are flexible with the agility to respond to changes in the operational environment.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe routinely hosts and supports a variety of U.S. Air Force aircraft and units for training and to support geographic combatant command objectives. Operating with a variety of aircraft and units in Europe maintains a ready and postured force prepared to respond to and support global operations.