U.S. Air Force Deploys B-52H And B-1B Bomber Task Forces

A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, arrives at Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia in support of a Bomber Task Force mission, March 22, 2024. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Staci Kasischke)

Few days apart, B-52s landed at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and B-1s landed at Moron in Spain.

The U.S. Air Force started two new Bomber Task Force deployments few days apart, as two B-52Hs landed at Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia on Mar. 22 and two B-1Bs landed at Morón Air Base on Mar. 24. These two deployments at two bases 5,100 nm apart give the Air Force the ability to easily reach the entire Europe, Middle East and Indo-Pacific regions.

The last time B-52 landed at Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, was in 2020, followed by the last bomber deployment a year later with the B-1B. Two B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing landed there after a direct flight from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, which lasted approximately 30 hours and demonstrated the B-52’s strategic flexibility and global reach, in spite of its age.

This deployment aims to enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe, said the Air Force, demonstrating the credibility of US forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in recent history.

While it is not mentioned explicitly, the statement clearly refers to the tensions which keep rising in the Middle East and the Taiwan Strait, as Diego Garcia sits almost halfway from both of them. “Strategically located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia provides a key platform for U.S. military operations, enabling rapid response capabilities across the vast Indo-Pacific region,” said the statement.

“Bomber task force missions showcase our capability for rapid deployment in support of the combatant commander’s objectives,” said Maj. Joshua Dawkins, 96th Bomb Squadron director of operations. “Operating and training in theater enables our crews to maintain proficiency and readiness, while also demonstrating our commitment to our Allies and partners.”

A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, parks at Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia, in support of a Bomber Task Force mission, March 22, 2024. The U.S. routinely and visibly demonstrates commitment to our allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Staci Kasischke)

In the meanwhile, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, arrived at Morón Air Base, Spain, to begin the next phase of Bomber Task Force 24-2, followed by another two bombers on Mar. 26. The first phase started in February and saw two BONES (from B-Ones) assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota deploying to Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden.

Interestingly, during the deployment flight the two bombers flew over Norway and then in international airspace over the Barents Sea, allegedly in direction of Russia’s Kola Peninsula, and were intercepted by a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound scrambled to intercept them. A similar episode happened once again on Mar. 26 as the two B-1Bs were flying over the Barents Sea.

On this deployment, bomber crews and support personnel will generate sorties out of Morón AB and operate alongside numerous Allies and partners to increase interoperability and assure security commitments across the United States European Command area of responsibility, said the statement, adding that this BTF mission demonstrates once again the U.S. commitment to NATO Allies and partners.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.