The B-1 Lancer bombers from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, are about to deploy to Norway for Bomber Task Force mission.
For the first time, an expeditionary B-1 Lancer bomber squadron from Dyess AFB, will deploy to Ørland Air Force Station, in central Norway, as part of an upcoming BTF (Bomber Task Force) mission. The deployment will be supported by more than 200 U.S. Air Force personnel, part of an advance team for the scheduled missions that will be flown in the coming weeks.
Upon arrival in Norway, all USAF personnel, who were screened prior to depart, will immediately practice a ten-day COVID-19 Restriction of Movement (ROM).
According to U.S. European Command, the “training for the U.S. Air Force personnel will include a variety of areas ranging from operating in the high north to improving interoperability with allies and partners across the European theater.”
“While details of specific missions or numbers of events are not discussed as part of routine operational security standards, U.S. Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of U.S. aircraft and units across the theater in support of USEUCOM objectives,” says the official release on the EUCOM website.
Noteworthy, B-1s have already operated in the region last year, although as part of long-range round-trip missions from CONUS (Continental US) bases: on May 20, 2020, two B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, conducted a mission to the Nordic region. The mission, one in a series of long-range strategic Bomber Task Force missions to Europe, was worth of note for at least a couple of interesting details: first, it marked the first time B-1s flew over Sweden to integrate with Swedish Gripens while conducting close-air support training with Swedish Joint Terminal Attack Controller ground teams at Vidsel Range; second, the B-1s integrated with Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s to fly tactical sorties and conduct a low-approach over Ørland Air Station, Norway, the home of the RoNAF’s recently operational F-35 fleet.
Ørland is an important air base operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The air station is the RNoAF F-35 MOB (Main Operating Base) hosting the Lightning-equipped 332nd Squadron. The base also hosts search and rescue helicopters and a FOL (Forward Operating Location) of the NATO E-3A AWACS fleet.
From there, the BONEs (as the B-1s are dubbed by their aircrews) will probably launch sorties over the Arctic Circle a region whose strategic importance and value were reaffirmed with the “extended duration mission” flown there also by the B-2 Spirit stealth bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, in 2019 and 2020.