B-2 bombers in Europe land in Iceland and fly in the Arctic for the first time


  • The B-2 Spirit stealth bombers landed in the UK in August for deployment as part of the Bomber Task Force.
  • Within days of arriving, the B-2s had done several new things that were perhaps as much intended to send a message to their rivals as to test pilots and crews.
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Three US Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, aviators and support equipment from the 509th Bomb Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri arrived in the UK on August 27 for a Bomber Task Force deployment. .

This is not the first time B-2s have left RAF Fairford, the Air Force’s forward operating location for bombers.

This presence is a “continuation” of what the US military and European partners have been doing since Russia captured Crimea in 2014, said Jim Townsend, deputy senior researcher in the Center for Transatlantic Security Program. a New American Security. “It’s just about continuing to show that we can operate at any level, whether it’s a B-2 or below, [and] then we can operate where we need it in Europe, including the Arctic. “

But within days of arriving, the B-2s had done several new things that were perhaps as much about sending a message to their rivals as they were testing pilots and crews.

“B-2s and bombers have always been as much about signaling as capability,” said Christopher Skaluba, director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Find out what the B-2s have been up to and who their message is for.


Joan J. Holland