A B-52 Stratofortress ('Buff') strategic bomber of the United States Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)

Operational B-52 debut in Swedish airspace

US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers are soon to deploy into Swedish airspace for the first time on an operational training mission which involves the release of a weapons load, according to sources within the Swedish Armed Forces. On Saturday 13 June a pair of “Buffs” will drop sea mines  in the Baltic Sea near the Swedish Southeast coast.

The drop is an operational training in covering the flanks of an amphibious operation. According to the plan the B-52s are to fly non-stop from the US and return back home. The bombers’ deployment is part of Baltops 2015, the yearly multinational NATO / Partnership for Peace exercise that will take place from 5 to 20 June this year.


Approx. location (released to the general public) of the planned B-52 sea mine drop on 13 June 2015
Seventeen nations will participate in Baltops 2015, bringing together 4,500 troops, 60 surface vessels and boats, about 50 combat aircraft and helicopters plus a Polish Navy submarine. The operational area will take place in Swedish, Danish, Polish and international waters and air space. Many of the participating aircraft will fly from their homebases. Air sorties will include reconnaissance, in-flight refuelling, close air support, air combat and air-sea cooperation.

A B-52H from Barksdale AFB near the eastern coast of Canada on 2 April 2015. (Image © Airman Ashlyn J. Correia / New Hampshire ANG)
A B-52H from Barksdale AFB near the eastern coast of Canada on 2 April 2015. (Image © Airman Ashlyn J. Correia / New Hampshire ANG)

The B-52 sea mine drop is an interesting choice. During the Cold War NATO and Sweden had a secret plan to insert a large US Marine Corps force into the Skåne region of Sweden, in case of a Russian invasion of Western Europe. The Marines were to safeguard the Öresund (The Sound) – the narrow shipping lane between Malmö (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) that gives entry control to the Baltic Sea from the Atlantic Ocean.

Recently the US and NATO have grown more close, both military and politically, with non-NATO members Sweden and Finland in an attempt to future-secure the Baltic Sea area while the Russian military is increasing its military projection there.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A B-52 Stratofortress (‘Buff’) strategic bomber of the United States Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)