COLOGNE, Germany – The US Air Force is temporarily sending 200 employees with a B-1 Lancer expedition squadron to Norway to support the management of bomber training flights in the region, the US command announced on Tuesday.
The service members, who are from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, will be based at Orland Air Base near Trondheim, a hub for Norway’s F-35 fighter aircraft fleet. The force represents “the advance team for planned missions in the coming weeks that will take place for a limited time,” said the EUCOM statement.
“Operational readiness and our ability to support allies and partners and react quickly are critical to mutual success,” said General Jeff Harrigian, commander of the US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, quoted in the statement. “We value the long-term partnership with Norway and look forward to future opportunities to strengthen our collective defenses.”
EUCOM routinely carries out so-called bomber task force missions in its area of responsibility. These patrol and training flights often include allies whose aircraft join forces with the current American formation.
The command’s statement does not contain any information on how long the Air Force contingent will stay in Norway or what type of equipment it will bring with it. The B-1 Lancer is a conventional bomber whose nuclear capability was removed in the mid-1990s.
“While details of specific missions or number of events are not discussed as part of routine operational safety standards, the US Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of US aircraft and units throughout the theater in support of USEUCOM’s objectives.” the statement said.
Expedition troops are supporting a Dyess that had previously been trained by Norwegian last September, US air traffic announced at the time. During a 16-hour training mission from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, the B-1B Lancers covered 6,100 nautical miles for a journey across the North Pole. The flight included refueling over the Arctic Ocean, followed by “several hours” of training with Norwegian forces off the Greenland coast and over the Norwegian Sea, according to an Air Force statement on Sept. 30.