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Long-range bombers return to US after massive mission

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The U.S. Air Force deployed B-1B Lancers to Sweden for a mission with NATO allies amid tensions with Russia.

The bombers engaged in exercises to demonstrate deterrence and test air defense capabilities.

The bombers and their crews “engaged in combined strategic opportunities with NATO Allies and partners, synchronizing capabilities and assuring security commitment in the area of operations,” the Air Force stated.

The mission aimed to enhance multinational cooperation and interoperability within NATO.

The objectives were to “exercise multinational cooperation, demonstrate collective deterrence, and test air defense capabilities. To achieve this, the B-1s flew as a simulated adversary and received intercepts from various NATO fighter aircraft across the Arctic, North Sea, and the Greenland, Iceland, and U.K. gap. All training objectives were met,” they added.

“This serves as a stellar illustration of NATO’s collective deterrence and air defense capabilities,” Gen. James Hecker said.

“In the face of today’s uncertain global security landscape, preparedness for any scenario is paramount. Through this exercise, we enhance interoperability within the NATO Alliance, reinforcing our commitment to collaborative efforts that foster international security and stability,” he said.

“The U.S. is one of our most important partners and having them here at the base is very good logistic training for us to be able to host,” Swedish air force Col. Peter Greberg stated. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t fly on the mission myself, but I heard that it was really, really good. Being a bomber escort is not something we do regularly, so that was very good training.”

Greberg added, “Joining NATO means bringing our two countries together. I’m looking forward to that and having more opportunities to train.”

Sweden’s increased involvement with NATO signifies closer collaboration.

The B-1B Lancer is a high-speed multirole bomber used for long-range missions.

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