US to deploy B-1B bombers to Norway for first time


The United States is deploying Rockwell B-1B Lancer bombers to Norway for the first time, US European Command (USEUCOM) announced on 2 February.

Final preparations are currently under way for an expeditionary squadron of B-1B bombers and 200 support personnel to deploy from the 12th Air Force’s 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas to Orland Air Base in Norway.

”Operational readiness and our ability to support Allies and partners and respond with speed is critical to combined success,” General Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Africa commander, was quoted as saying.

USEUCOM declined to say how many B-1Bs will be assigned to the Bomber Task Force (BTF) in Norway, but noted that the mission will see the aircraft operate in a variety of areas, ranging from operating in the high north to improving interoperability with allies and partners across the European theatre.

“While details of specific missions or numbers of events are not discussed as part of routine operational security standards, US Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of US aircraft and units across the theatre in support of USEUCOM objectives,” USEUCOM said.

The US Air Force (USAF) fields 62 B-1B Lancer bombers, the first of which entered service in 1985. Now used exclusively in the conventional strike role, the supersonic B-1B can carry up to 48 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs, as well as other precision guided weaponry.