Tag Archives: Barksdale Air Force Base

USAF B-52s perform show of force in Jordan during 35-hour nonstop mission from the U.S.

Eager Lion 2016 opened by two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers.

On May 24, two B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, conducted a 35-hour, 14,000-mile round-trip mission to Jordan, to perform a show of force alongside the partner Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) in Exercise Eager Lion 2016.

Eager Lion 2016

As happened last year, during the nonstop mission (that included four aerial refueling operations) the B-52s conducted air intercept training with Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s and executed a live conventional weapons demonstration directed jointly by JAF and U.S. JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers).

“Executing these global bomber training missions supports successful integration into geographic combatant command and multinational operations, such as the current B-52 deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander in a release. Indeed, the B-52s are currently deployed to the CENTCOM area or responsibility taking part in the air war against Daesh from Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar.

Eager Lion 2016

USSTRATCOM’s bomber force regularly conducts theater security operations with allies and partners, demonstrating the U.S. capability to launch and manage global strike missions anywhere.

The Buff’s participation in Eager Lion 2016 follows the deployment of B-52s to Morón Air Base, Spain, in February and March, to take part in Norwegian Exercise Cold Response and French Exercise Serpentex, as well as the deployment of B-2 Spirits to the Indo-Asia-Pacific in March.

Eager Lion 2016

Additionally, in April a B-52 flew a sortie to France to integrate with the French Air Force, and a B-52 also flew to South America to train with the Colombian air force.

Exercise “Eager Lion” is a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability.

Eager Lion 16 marks the second consecutive year of the integration of +50 years old heavy bomber into the exercise.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Watch a U.S. B-52 blow up Daesh Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices and their storage facitilities in Iraq

Buff at work in Iraq.

Six B-52s are currently deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar, to support Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

The aircraft have replaced the B-1s, that have returned stateside for upgrades and are expected to perform a new tour of duty in the Middle East by the end of the year.

The Stratofortress bombers have launched their first air strike against ISIS on Apr. 18 (targeting a Daesh weapons storage facility in Qayyarah, Iraq). Since then, the B-52s have carried out the same kind of missions the B-1s flew in theater before they were relieved by the Buffs: mainly Close Air Support and Air Interdiction delivering a wide variety of PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), including JDAMs.

The following video was filmed on April 29 where the B-52s attacked multiple vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and their storage facilities near Kirkuk, Iraq, to deny safe havens and disrupt terrorist operations.

Two B-52 strategic bombers have just arrived in Qatar to start pounding ISIS

The “Buff” has arrived at Al Udeid airbase.

Two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, have arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Apr. 9, 2016.

The aircraft, using radio callsign Mighty 71 were monitored by several radiohams on HF frequencies during their flight from the U.S. to the Middle East.

The aircraft will operate in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the air war against ISIS replacing the B-1 Lancers, the last of those returned stateside in January, after a 6-month deployment worth 3,800 munitions on 3,700 targets in 490 sorties. By the way, the B-1s could return to the Mideast this summer after they receive additional cockpit upgrades…

Although the B-52s are capable to perform round-trip missions directly from their homebase as demonstrated in May 2015, when two B-52Hs showed their ability to do on a range in Jordan (a 14,000 miles 30-hour trip to drop some 500-lb GBU-38 JDAM – Joint Direct Attack Munition – bombs in an old-fashioned carpet bombing mission) the about 60 years old “Buffs” (Big Ugly Fat Fellas) will be stationed at Al Udeid in Qatar, the first deployment of the Stratofortress in the region after the Gulf War.

Dealing with the type of mission the B-52s will carry out in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, it will probably be the same of the B-1s: Close Air Support and Air Interdiction delivering a wide variety of PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), including JDAMs on ISIS positions.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

These photos show two U.S. B-52 bombers performing a surprise low flyby over Gran Canaria island

Two U.S. Stratofortress bombers caught during a low passage at Gando airbase.

On Mar. 4, two of the U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers deployed to Spain performed a low flyby over Gran Canaria island, in the Atlantic Ocean off Western Sahara, during one of their missions out of Moron Air Base where they deployed at the end of February to take part in Ex. Cold Response and Serpentex.

B-52 low over Gando 3

The two B-52Hs, 60-0022/LA and 60-0062/LA “CAJUN FEAR” arrived over Gando airbase, at 17.15 where The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock was shooting aircraft taking part in DACT 2016, the annual air combat training exercise of the Spanish Air Force.

B-52 low over Gando 4

Here’s how Tony recalled the low passage in an email he sent us:

Word had it earlier in the afternoon that a B-52 was to overfly at 17:00. “Yeah, yeah, pigs might fly if they had wings”. 17:00 came and went, no B-52. “see what I mean”. 17:15. a great shout went up (in Spanish) not ONE, but TWO. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The noise of the Shutters , click, click, click, became a crescendo as the Spanish spotters went wild with delight. They had of course, also been proved correct, it was not a rumour after all.

As the photos in this post show, the aircraft flew in loose formation, at low altitude, over the Spanish island in the Atlantic: a rather unusual sight!

B-52 low over Gando

Image credit: Tony Lovelock

U.S. Air Force B-52s take part in French-led CAS exercise “Serpentex” for the first time

U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers deployed to Moron Air Base have joined French Air Force fighters in CAS exercise

Taken on Mar. 1, 2016 the photo in this post shows a French Air Force Mirage 2000 performing a friendly intercept of a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress belonging to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana in the skies over Northern France.

This aircraft, which is one of the three BUFFs deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, in the last days, was intercepted during its flight to Norway for NATO exercise Cold Response 16.

Currently these B-52s are participating in close air support (CAS) exercise Serpentex 16 hosted by France in the Mediterranean Sea.

Kicked off on Mar. 7, Serpentex is an annual exercise that involves joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from many partner countries.

The JTACs operate on the French Island of Corsica and work together to practice identifying targets and using that data to call in air strikes from nearby French and American aircraft.

Serpentex differs from other joint military exercises held in the region because it focuses on close air support only: in fact, during the drilsl, the B-52s joined with French fighters to support JTACs from several NATO nations, as well as those from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who are also participating this year.

The presence of the B-52, which is taking part in exercise Serpentex for the very first time, represents a great training opportunity for the JTACs. “Most of them haven’t worked with bombers for these types of missions before. We have a longer duration and a lot wider turn radius than some of the fighters, so they’re going to have to find a new pacing for calling us in for close air support. But I promise that bomber CAS is worth the wait” Maj. Sarah Fortin, the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations, said in a USAF release.

Noteworthy, whilst CAS role has traditionally been filled by various fighter platforms, the BUFF is well-suited for the mission since is able to loiter for extended periods and carrying a wider range of munitions than any other aircraft in the U.S. inventory.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force