US Brings Long-Range Bombers Home from NATO Mission

( – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised concerns across Eastern Europe and the world. If President Vladimir Putin’s forces succeeded in taking the neighboring country, what would be next? That’s the question officials asked again and again. The media published their fears, and world leaders began pouring money into Ukraine.

The fear of an expansion of the war led to a massive NATO exercise recently. The US has now brought its long-range bombers home.

Bombers Return Home

US officials revealed the long-range bombers that the US Air Force used in recent NATO exercises are back home at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. First Lt. Cameron Silver announced the B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing completed their mission. They were used to conduct a cross-combat command mission in support of Global Guardian. The bombers returned home on February 29 from their deployment location at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden.

According to Silver’s statement, the bombers were engaged in a mission with NATO Allies and partners where they synchronized their capabilities. He explained the Pentagon’s objectives in this mission “were to exercise multinational cooperation, demonstrate collective deterrence, and test air defense capabilities.” They simulated attacks by foreign forces and NATO intercepts in the Greenland, Iceland, and UK gap, the Arctic, and the North Sea.

Sweden’s Integration Into NATO

Sweden will soon be a full member of NATO, and Silver wrote that the impending membership means an “increased integration of the country” into the international alliance’s operations and structure. The Swedish government applied to become a member of NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, concerned that without the backing of the alliance, they were vulnerable to an attack.

Col. Peter Greberg, a Swedish air force commander, stated that having the US bombers at the base in Sweden was “very good logistic training for [Sweden] to be able to host.” He said that even though he wasn’t able to fly on the mission, he’d heard it was great and that having the B-1B bomber as an escort was good training because it’s not something their military does regularly.

Russia’s Miscalculation

The NATO exercises demonstrated the depth of Russia’s miscalculation when it waged war on Ukraine. Putin repeatedly claimed that he wanted to stop the expansion of NATO in the region, but his deadly invasion did the exact opposite. Sweden and Finland both applied to join NATO.

Although the bombers are back home, the NATO exercises are ongoing, with both Sweden and Finland hosting militaries from the Allied nations.

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