The Air Force has deployed B-1B Lancer bombers to Europe as part of the Saber Strike and BALTOPS exercises there with NATO allies, according to a release Wednesday from U.S. European Command.
The release did not specify how many Lancers have deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom. In a follow up email, a EUCOM spokesman would only say that “several” Lancers were involved. They are joining three B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, and about 800 airmen in the European theater.
The deployments and exercises come at a time when tensions are rising across Europe over Russia’s resurgence and aggression in the region.
EUCOM said that the training “improves coordination between nations and enables forces to build enduring relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.” BALTOPS, short for Baltic Operations, is a maritime-focused multinational exercise that takes place annually, involving 4,000 shipboard personnel, 50 ships and submarines, and more than 50 aircraft. This year is the 45th iteration of BALTOPS.
Saber Strike is meant to improve land, sea and air operations and interoperability among allies and regional partners, including the U.S., U.K, Canada, Estonia. Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The Army said that key training events of the seventh iteration of Saber Strike will include a convoy by Battle Group Poland from Orzysz, Poland, to southern Lithuania; a Marine amphibious assault in Latvia; one combined arms live fire exercise in Poland and another in Lithuania; an air assault by the British Royal Marines at the Polish and Lithuanian border; and a river crossing in that area.