B-52, JAS Gripen and F-35 on joint mission over Norway
Earlier today, Swedish and Norwegian fighter aircraft escorted American B-52 strategic bombers over Norwegian territory. This is the first time we release photos showing the three nations together on a mission like this.
Four American B-52s recently left Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Early Thursday morning, they joined two Swedish JAS Gripen and two Norwegian F-35 fighter aircraft west of Andøya, North Norway. One of the B-52s conducted training with the Norwegian Army at the Setermoen firing range. Operations like these require thorough tactical cooperation between the nations, aircraft types and the participating ground forces.
For the coming period, the American B-52 bombers will be stationed at the RAF Fairford Air Station in the UK.
Important arena for cooperation
The “Bomber Task Force” has become a well-established arena for cooperation. The arena allows Norwegian and American aircraft to conduct joint exercises with both ground and naval forces in advanced training scenarios.
“Witnessing our nation’s JAS Gripen fighter aircraft flying alongside several of America’s most powerful military aircraft visually depicts the strength and solidarity of NATO,” said Major General Carl-Johan Edström, commander of the Swedish Air Force.
“These moments truly capture the military power that exists within NATO – as individual nations, but, more importantly, as a unified Alliance.”
Sweden towards NATO membership
Along with Finland, Sweden is currently in the process of becoming a full NATO member. The Norwegian Air Force has had extensive cooperation with their Swedish partners for a long time.
“To have Sweden taking part in this training mission, is vital”, says Major General Rolf Folland, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, adding:
“The integration of Sweden into NATO will give us increased joint combat power. The air dimension is unique in military operations. Air control has great advantages and gives land and sea forces the prerequisites for success, says Folland.
Joint Nordic Command
With Sweden and Finland as NATO members, the Nordic countries will jointly have approximately 250 modern combat aircraft. The Norwegian Air Force is already exploring the possibilities of establishing a joint Nordic air operations centre. This will allow for efficient planning and air operations across the region.
“We believe this will significantly strengthen our collective defence”, says Folland.
Despite the increased Nordic cooperation, the NATO alliance as a whole remains Norway's security guarantee. Allied training is vital for strengthening defence capabilities, and Allied operations in the High North Region contribute to further developing knowledge and expertise within the Norwegian Armed Forces and NATO.