The United States last week participated in military exercises along with South Korea, which coincided with a visit to the region by the secretaries of state and defense. But that wasn’t the only recent exercise carried out between the United States and an ally.
The United States conducted a night exercise in the Arctic Circle with Norway this week, with a U.S. B-2 bomber and F-35 fighter planes from Norway’s Air Force, the U.S. Air Force announced Monday.
The United States and Norway have been carrying out such drills ever since September of 2020, according to UPI. It’s all part of what UPI described as an increasing number of late U.S. Bomber Task Force missions in the Arctic Ocean and other areas on what’s known as the “High North.” Last September, a pair of B-1Bs flew over the North Pole to Greenland, in connection with Norway’s air force.
“A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit aircraft from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and a U.S. B-1B Lancer from the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew a Bomber Task Force mission off the coast of Iceland,” the U.S. Air Force said in a press release.
“The bombers integrated with four Norwegian F-35 Lightning aircraft that are currently fulfilling NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission,” the press release continued. “The aircraft carried out complex operations at night after beginning the mission from three different bases on two continents. The sortie provided an opportunity for the aircraft to advance their cross-platform data-sharing capabilities, improving 5th generation interoperability.”
“Executing this mission is no small feat,” Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command, said in the press release. “Integrating fourth and fifth generation aircraft alongside our Norwegian allies is a critical strategic capability for the future success of NATO operations.”
The U.S. Air Force announced in February that about two hundred airmen and four B-1B Lancer bombers aircraft previously assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas had been deployed to Ørland Air Force Station in Norway.
“At the tactical level, the 9th EBS is executing the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) vision of Dynamic Force Employment, while also cultivating and growing relationships with our allies and partners in Europe,” the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron director of operations said in a statement in February. It was described as the third BTF deployment conducted by the 9th EBS.
Russia wouldn’t dare attack Norway.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.