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AFRICOM begins B-52 training missions in North Africa

Moroccan F-16s fly alongside a U.S. B-52H Stratofortress during a Bomber Task Force Mission. Photo by Xavier Navarro/U.S. Air Force
Moroccan F-16s fly alongside a U.S. B-52H Stratofortress during a Bomber Task Force Mission. Photo by Xavier Navarro/U.S. Air Force

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Strategic Command started B-52 interoperability training missions in support of U.S. Africa Command in North Africa on Monday.

According to AFRICOM, the B-52s have participated in an initial mission with four Moroccan F-16s.

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"Conducting these missions alongside our African partners shows the strategic reach of our joint force and our collective commitment to preventing malign influence in Africa," said Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. "The security and stability of the African continent remains a vital U.S. interest."

AFRICOM's B-52s will also intercept the USS Roosevelt as it simulates a hostile vessel in the southern Mediterranean.

"These efforts demonstrate the professionalism, agility, and capabilities of our forces with international partners to address today's complex and dynamic global security environment, as well as our commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation in the Mediterranean Sea," Tyler said. "These missions also enable U.S. and international partners to maintain a high state of readiness, interoperability and proficiency, strengthening the ability of the U.S. and international partners to address mutual security challenges and goals."

On Aug. 28, B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew over 30 NATO countries with allied aircraft, in a ceremonial statement of solidarity, and the next day two Russian Su-27 Flanker pilots intercepted a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber over international waters in the Black Sea, according to the Air Force.

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