June 18 (UPI) -- B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew from Spain to Louisiana in a long-range mission over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, the U.S. Air Force said on Friday.
The planes of the 2nd Bomb Wing -- normally stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. -- left Moron Air Base, Spain, and completed their 27,00-milke, 12-hour mission with Bomber Task Force Europe before arriving at Barksdale.
"The cross-combatant command mission included integration with Norwegian joint terminal attack controller personnel in the Nordic region before the aircraft flew through the Arctic Circle and into the northern Pacific in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command," the Air Force statement said.
The deployment of the B-52H aircraft, whose initial versions appeared in 1955, was typical of U.S. Strategic Command maneuvers in task force missions.
The Air Force statement noted that the Arctic area "is a strategic region of growing geopolitical and global importance."
The U.S. Air Force has 76 B-52 bombers, and is preparing to replace all their engines at a cost of about $11 billion, acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
The figure is nine percent higher than previous estimates, Roth said, owing to "a re-assessment of the requirement" and the complex work of using a modern commercial engine on the "aging platform" of the B-52.