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B-52s arrive in Britain for NATO exercises

A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber arrives at Royal Air Force Base Fairford, Britain -- one of six that arrived over the weekend -- for exercises with NATO partners. Photo courtesy of U.S. European Command
A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber arrives at Royal Air Force Base Fairford, Britain -- one of six that arrived over the weekend -- for exercises with NATO partners. Photo courtesy of U.S. European Command

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Six B-52 Stratofortress bombers of the U.S. Air Force arrived in Britain over the weekend for long-planned NATO flight training exercises, officials said on Monday.

The massive planes, from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., arrived at Royal Air Force Base Fairford, Britain, on Aug. 22 for deployment and integration with NATO allies and regional partners.

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Since 2018, the Air Force's Bomber Task Force has conducted over 200 such unified sorties, most recently in June at BALTOPS 2020, a 19-nation, largely maritime event in the Baltic Sea.

"This deployment is a strong sign of the United States'enduring commitment to NATO and to European security. US aircraft will be flying alongside Allied air forces in the coming days, honing our ability to work together in response to any challenge," NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a press release.

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"NATO is a defensive alliance, and for more than 70 years our nations have stood together to deter aggression, prevent conflict, and preserve peace," Lungescu said.

Information on upcoming actions of the planes, from the 5th Bomber Wing of Minot Air Force Base, was not disclosed.

"B-52s are back at RAF Fairford, and will be operating across the theater in what will be a very active deployment," Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in a statement.

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"Our ability to quickly respond and assure allies and partners rests upon the fact that we are able to deploy our B-52s at a moment's notice," Harrigian said. "Their presence here helps build trust with our NATO allies and partner nations and affords us new opportunities to train together through a variety of scenarios."

B-52s have been in service since 1955. The planes can carry up to 70,000 pounds of weapons and can travel over 8,800 miles without refueling.

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