The supersonic bombers have returned to Europe.
Flying as SPICY21 and SPICY22, two B-1B Lancer bombers, belonging to the 7th Bomb Wing, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, landed at RAF Fairford, in Gloucestershire, England, UK, to kick off the first Bomber Task Force deployment for the British airbase of 2023 (BTF 23-3). Two more B-1s are planned to deploy to RAF Fairford on May 25, 2023, bringing the supersonic bomber force supporting the current BTF to its full strength.
The first support for the deployment arrived in the form of C-5 Galaxy 11 days ago, followed by a Kalitta 747 and National Airbus A330 a few days later.
Interestingly, the two “BONEs” (as the B-1s are nicknamed within the pilot community) assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, entered the European theatre by first integrating with Allies and Partners conducting NATO’s Air Policing and Air Shielding missions throughout the Baltic Sea region and then landed at RAF Fairford at end of a 12-hour mission. “The Baltic Sea serves as a critical economic corridor, and consistent coalition surveillance of the international air and maritime space preserves safe and secure passage for all,” says the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs in a public statement.
As usual, our friend Ben Ramsay at UK Aviation Movies was at RAF Fairford to take the following amazing video of the arriving BONEs. Remarkably, the bombers recovered straight after the daily U-2 mission cleared the runway: in fact you can still hear the U-2 taxying as the Bones run into the overhead for the break.