B-52 flies with F-22 Raptor’s over Middle East and Europe

B-52 flies with F-22 Raptor’s over Middle East and Europe

“Knighthawks” over the Mediterranean!

A B-52H Stratofortress from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducts mission along side United States allies in the Middle East and Europe.

 

Article: Jaryd Stock
Images: Zachary Wright, Jerreht Harris

 

Coalition and regional partner air forces joined a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron nicknamed the “Knighthawks”, and two F-22 Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing on a presence patrol mission across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AoR) of Europe and the Middle East on March 29th.

The Stratofortress (Serial number: 61-0039) that took part in the mission is one of four currently deployed to Royal Air Force Fairford, England. The aircraft flew over the East Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, and Red Sea before departing the region and returning to Fairford.

“With each bomber task force mission, AFCENT and partner air forces demonstrate the strength of regional airpower,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, Ninth Air Force (AFCENT) commander. “An unprecedented nine countries flew with our B-52 today, so this mission clearly signaled our ability to quickly bring forces to the theater and operate seamlessly with our partners during a training event that signals our combined commitment to regional stability and defense.”

Two Czech Air Force Saab JAS-39 Gripen fly in formation alongside a B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Wright)

The non-stop B-52H mission included fighter escorts from the Royal Air Force participating with FGR.4 Typhoons and regional partner nations such as the Czech Republic flying along side the B-52 with a pair of JAS-39C Gripen’s and Italian Air Force Typhoons, enhancing regional stability and security through a show of combined strength and capability.

The flow of airpower throughout theatre during this presence patrol was significant due to the addition of F-22s, which deployed from Joint Base Langlet-Eustis, Virginia to the USCENTCOM AOR in February and deployed to Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the F-22 Raptors deployed to Al Dhafra , and participated in Operation Agile Spartan II and conducted Agile Combat Employment concepts throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which showcased U.S. Air Force’s flexibility to operate from any location in a contested environment.

Last time USAF F-22 deployed to UAE was when 12x Raptors operated from Al Dhafra Air Base between May and October 2018 as part of a pre-planned rotation to the Gulf. More recently, at the end of June 2019, 12 F-22 Raptors belonging to the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard, both from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, deployed to the AFCENT AOR, to respond to a short-notice deployment request. Back then, the F-22 did not deploy to UAE but to Al Udeid, Qatar for the first time “to defend American forces in the region.”

An Italian Air Force Eurofigher escorts a B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Wright)

 

The B-52H and their aircrew are assigned to 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and flew the mission under Air Force Global Strike Command’s bomber task force mission-set and deployed to England before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Since then regular flights of B-52’s have been noted on the App Flight Radar 24, where B-52’s have been patrolling the skies over Eastern Europe. USCENTCOM, through Ninth Air Force (AFCENT), has facilitated two bomber task force missions in 2022 as a demonstration of the U.S.-led coalition’s commitment to promoting regional stability. The last bomber-led mission across the Central Region involved one B-52H and occurred Feb. 14, 2022.

 

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly alongside a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress above the Arabian Gulf, March 29, 2022. The presence of the B-52H and F-22s showcased U.S. Central Command’s ability to deliver combat airpower at a moment’s notice, as well as its commitment to partners and regional security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerreht Harris)

 

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress flies alongside Royal Air Force of Oman Eurofighter Typhoons above Oman, March 29, 2022. The bomber’s flight originated at Royal Air Force Fairford, England, and flew over the East Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, and Red Sea before departing the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerreht Harris)

 

Jaryd Stock on Flickr
Jaryd Stock
Jaryd Stock is based in Sydney Australia. He has been a die-hard aviation enthusiast from a young age when he was chauffeured around by his father to various airshows and airports around Australia. At his first Airshow he witnessed the awesomeness of a General Dynamics F-111C and immediately fell in love with aviation.

Jaryd picked up a camera at a young age and has never looked back. He now combines photography and writing to highlight "Downunder" aviation; especially U.S. DoD units. Jaryd uses Nikon cameras and lenses.
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