RAF

RAF Aircraft Train With US Bombers Over North Sea

The exercise consisted of intensive training sorties with US strategic bomber aircraft.

Royal Air Force aircraft have taken part in training sorties with US bomber aircraft over the North Sea.

The B1-B Lancer aircraft took off from their home base in South Dakota and were escorted by RAF Typhoons towards the Baltic region where Swedish Gripen fighter jets then took over.

The bombers were taking part in a long-range training sortie which included other NATO and allied nations, the RAF said.

A Typhoon pilot, from RAF Lossiemouth, said: “It was a privilege to fly alongside our colleagues from the United States Air Force.

“Usually Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth are launched to intercept aircraft which may pose a threat to UK airspace, identifying them and determining their intentions.

“In this case, we escorted our allies through their first leg of NATO airspace, prior to their mission in the Baltic region”.

During the flight across the North Sea, other aircraft were also deployed.

The RAF escorted the bombers towards the Baltic region (Picture: RAF).

A US KC-135 Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall, a KDC-10 from RNLAF Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands and an RAF Voyager from Brize Norton also all took part. 

The Voyager provided air-to-air refuelling during the training. 

An RAF E-3D Sentry aircraft from RAF Waddington coordinated the mission.

Air Vice Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group, said: “Working closely with the US and other NATO nations helps build a collective capability within NATO that enhances our level of interoperability.”

For the first time, the B-1Bs flew over Sweden to conduct integration training with Gripen fighters.

The aircraft also took part in close-air support training with Swedish Joint Terminal Attack Controller ground teams, the RAF added.

On leaving Swedish airspace, the B-1Bs were joined by Norwegian F-35As and conducted a "low-approach" over Ørland Air Station, Norway.

Cover image: RAF.