Military Aviation

USAF B-52 bomber departed RAF Fairford at 11:37pm on Sunday Night and RTB at 10:52pm on Monday, spending almost 24 hours in the air

The B-52 therefore spent around 23 hours and 25 minutes in the air.

A US Air Force (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber departed RAF Fairford at 11:37pm on Sunday night Feb. 13, 2022 and returned to base at 10:52pm on Monday Feb. 14.

The Big Ugly Fat F****r (BUFF, as the B-52 is dubbed by her aircrews) therefore spent around 23 hours and 25 minutes in the air.

According to UK Defence Journal, the B-52 before flying to Saudi Arabia and returning, flew around Portugal and Spain, crossing the strait of Gibraltar and heading into the Mediterranean.

Her route was tracked on Flight Radar 24.

The B-52 also flew with Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15 fighter jets during the mission, as it can be seen in the image below.

‘The joint flight demonstrates the close cooperation between the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. Air Force. This ongoing partnership is a pillar in maintaining the security of the State of Israel and stability in the Middle East,’ the IAF said on its Facebook Page.

The BUFF was originally part of a two aircraft cell, with the B-52s featuring callsigns CHIEF11 and CHIEF12 headed south together before CHIEF12 returned to the UK, cutting short its mission, after suffering an ‘urgent issue’.

A source told UK Defence Journal: “I can’t go into anything on the record but there was an issue and the aircraft is returning to the United Kingdom as a safety precaution.”

The B-52s arrived at RAF Fairford on Feb. 10, 2022. According to a USAFE news release in fact on that day B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, support equipment, and personnel from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived at RAF Fairford to execute the long-planned Bomber Task Force mission, a regularly scheduled US European Command and US Strategic Command joint mission series.

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En route to RAF Fairford, US Bomber Aircraft integrated with British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission. Bomber aircraft also integrated with British Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) to conduct bilateral Close Air Support training. The mission focused on enhancing readiness and interoperability for the controllers responsible for coordinating airstrikes to support ground forces.

Regularly integrating with allies improves USAF bombers cooperation and operational capacity, capability and interoperability. Occurring since 2018, bomber rotations through Europe maintain readiness to execute a wide variety of missions across two continents, sustaining peace through deterrence.

Through their rotation the bombers will be operating from RAF Fairford to continue to integrate with partners and allies.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and Israeli Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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