March 18 (UPI) -- Two U.S. Air Force B-2A bombers were escorted by three Norwegian F-35 fighter jets over Iceland and the North Atlantic this week.
The mission marks the first time Norwegian F-35s have flown together with B-2A bombers and comes less than a week after Russian strategic bombers were seen flying outside European airspace, the Barents Observer reported.
"This was indeed a special moment," Sigurd Tonning-Olsen, spokesperson with the Joint Headquarters, said. "The pilots were really excited."
"The world expects that NATO and the U.S. continue to execute our mission with decisiveness, regardless of any external challenge," said U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, Gen. Jeff Harrigian. "Missions like these provide us an opportunity to assure our allies while sending a clear message to any adversary that no matter the challenge, we are ready."
The B-2As took off from Fairford Air Force Base in England and were met by three Norwegian F-35s.
Norway currently has four F-35s based at Keflavik as part of NATO's Air Policing Mission in Iceland.
According to Tonning-Olsen, the F-35s were in the air for about an hour and a half, with 30 to 45 minutes of that time being in joint training with the B-2As.