For the first time, the U.S. military arrived in Norway to deploy the B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers.
This is stated in the statement of the command of the American armed forces in Europe.
“For the first time in Norway, more than 200 US Air Force personnel from the B-1 Lancer Bomber Expeditionary Squadron will arrive to support future Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions from Erland Air Force Base, Norway. The troops will be part of the forward group on planned missions in the coming weeks. Will run for a limited time, “the message says.
The training of US Air Force personnel will cover many areas, ranging from operations in the High North to improving interaction with allies and partners.
In January, the media reported that a task force of four B-1B Lancer strategic bombers is planned to be transferred to the Norwegian airbase. This is expected to happen between 7-20 February.
The airbase is now home to a squadron of F-35A Lightning II fighters of the Norwegian Air Force and a helicopter unit.
The US Air Force last year unveiled a new Arctic defense strategy aimed at strengthening its presence in the region and countering threats from Russia and China.
Recent missions were either from the UK, where the bombers are usually deployed during exercises in Europe, or they flew non-stop between the US and the Northern Region.
During the height of the Cold War, strategic bombers frequently crossed the region. Bombers such as the B-52 and F-111 were based in the UK, but they were not allowed to use Norwegian air bases, even for training exercises, as the Oslo government banned allied aircraft capable of nuclear operations from using their territory.
Previously, B-1 bombers could carry nuclear weapons, but since the mid-1990s they have been upgraded exclusively for conventional missions.