The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets integrated and trained with U.S. Air Force (USAF) B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers in the Norwegian airspace on May 20.
The training saw the participation of four Norwegian F-35As, and two B-1Bs from the USAF’s 28th Bomb Wing in Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
For Norway, the USAF’s long-range strategic bomber task force mission to the Nordic region provided an important training opportunity.
In addition to complex air operations, Norway’s chain of control and reporting was an important part of the exercise. From the ground, the control and reporting chain continuously monitors Norwegian airspace and communicate with the fighter aircraft in the air.
“Today, we have carried out complex air operations with advanced systems – both on the ground and in the air,” says Lieutenant Colonel Ståle Nymoen, commander of the Norwegian 332 Squadron. “This is an important training arena for integrated training. This allows us to operate together and exchange information with other allies”, said Nymoen.
The bombers also integrated with Swedish Air Force Gripen fighter jets over Sweden for the first time.
The B-1B Lancer is a strategic heavy bomber that makes up the U.S. fleet of long-range strategic bombers along with the B-52 Stratofortress bomber and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The USAF B-1B bombers are currently conducting multiple BTF missions across the European and Indo-Pacific areas of operation.
On May 11, the bombers conducted integration and interoperability training with Royal Danish Air Force F-16 fighter jets overflying Bornholm Island, Denmark, and Polish Air Force F-16 jets and MiG-29 jets joining to overfly Warsaw, Poland, in addition to overflight of Latvia and Lithuania.
The bombers also recently conducted a mission in the South China Sea from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.