Between the 28th of May and the 24th of June, the exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE were taking place above the Baltic Region.
The exercise BALTOPS is an annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region and was held between the 1st of June and ends on the 15th of June and was taking place for the 45th time. During these two weeks about 4000 personnel, more than 50 ships and submarines and about 55 aircraft from 14 countries (including NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partners like Finland and Sweden) took part in an intensive and complex training. The goal of this exercise was to enhance flexibility and interoperability among the participants.
The exercise Saber Strike is a long-standing, U.S. European Command-scheduled cooperative training exercise that took place in various regions in the Baltics and Poland from the 28th of May and the 24th of June. During these weeks about 11.000 U.S. and NATO service members from 20 countries took part in this exercise.
The goal of this exercise was to exercise with NATO’s enhanced forward presence battle groups as part of a multinational division while conducting an integrated, deterrence-oriented field training exercise designed to improve the interoperability and readiness of participating nations’ armed forces.
During these two exercises there were all three type of bombers (B-1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit and the B-52H Stratofortress) deployed to RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom. It was the first time that all three bombers were deployed simultaneously at RAF Fairford. In total there were three B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South-Dakota and three Boeing B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana based at RAF Fairford for these exercises. The two B-2 Spirits from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri were at RAF Fairford for the media day on the 12th of June.
About 800 Air Force Global Strike Command personnel were deployed to RAF Fairford for the third year running, to support the exercises with the United States joint-partners and NATO Allies. The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa’s forward operating location for the USAF’s strategic bombers provides important integration and interaction with the United States’ NATO allies and partner nations.