US nuclear-capable bombers fly training mission near Russia

U.S. Air Force nuclear-capable bombers flew a training mission near Scandinavia, sending a clear message to Moscow.

Five B-52 bombers flew over the Norwegian Sea Thursday, according to a statement from U.S. Air Force Europe, in a training flight reminiscent of those from the Cold War.

“The flights also allowed aircrews to conduct theater familiarization and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces. U.S. Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure we are able to honor our security commitments,” the statement said.

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Flights of this nature using long-range bombers have steadily increased over the past five years since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

The American bombers joined Norwegian F-16 fighter jets in the training flight Thursday, according to the Air Force.

Meanwhile Britain's RAF said a Typhoon fighter aircraft was scrambled from its Lossiemouth base, along with an RAF Voyager from Brize Norton, to monitor two Russian Blackjack bombers approaching British airspace.

The Russian bomber flight took place Friday, one day after the American bomber flights.

The large flight was coordinated in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force in Europe 

The large flight was coordinated in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force in Europe  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

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Earlier this month, a task force of six B-52 bombers deployed to the England from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana

Late last year, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier—USS Harry S. Truman-- launched aircraft north of the Arctic Circle for the first time in 30 years.

During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy regularly sent aircraft carrier strike groups to the Norwegian Sea to simulate attacks on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, where a large concentration of Russian military bases are located.  U.S. and NATO air force fighter jets regularly joined the training missions as well.

“Training with NATO allies like Norway enhances the capabilities and readiness of the alliance,” the Air Force said.

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Recently, Russian fighter jets have intercepted American bombers flying over the Baltic Sea, but all interactions have been safe and professional, according to the Pentagon.