Interesting footage shows the Flankers escorting NATO aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
On Jun. 15, 2020, two B-52H Stratofortress bombers, belonging to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, conducted a long-range, long duration strategic Bomber Task Force mission throughout Europe and the Baltic region. During their global reach mission, the BUFFs overflew Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vaindloo Island in the Baltic Sea, and, as happened during the most recent trips to Europe carried out by the U.S. bombers (including the B-1s), a B-52 Stratofortress “conducted integration and interoperability training” with local fighter jet: in this case, the RAF Typhoons and French Mirage 2000s assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission.
Interestingly, a BUFF took also part in the 49th iteration of BALTOPS (Baltic Operation) exercise, the premiere maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region that gathered air and maritime assets from 19 NATO allied and partner nations in live training events that include air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations.
Supported along the way by KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th ARW (Air Refueling Wing) from RAF Mildenhall, UK, a B-52 also conducted a low-approach over the USS Mount Whitney, the flagship and command ship of the United States Sixth Fleet in support of the BALTOPS exercise.
“Long-range strategic bomber missions to the Baltic region are a visible demonstration of our capability to extend deterrence globally,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander in a public statement. “Our participation in BALTOPS also provides an opportunity for us to strengthen relationships with our NATO allies and partners while operating in the air and sea domains.”
The B-52 mission (including the support tankers) to the Baltic area could be tracked online.
#QID257 & #QID258 with #B52 #MYTEE51 and Two #RAF #Eurofighter for photo op …both QID callsigns are then seen heading south in the second image in response to crashed #F15 #avgeek #OSINT #ADSB pic.twitter.com/k95h6gskHz
— ScotMilAir (@mil_scot) June 15, 2020
— nde (@5472_nde) June 15, 2020
Noteworthy, the B-52 also flew (in international airspace) off Kaliningrad Oblast, from where Russian Baltic Sea Fleet’s Su-27 fighters were scrambled to perform a VID (Visual Identification) of the bombers. The Russian MOD later released a video of the intercept that shows, along with the B-52H, also a German Navy P-3C Orion and a RAF Sentinel R1 ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft (most probably ZJ691 that was tracked in the area).