June 19, 2012

Exercises demonstrate Global Strike flexibility, capability

by Carla Pampe
Barksdale AFB, La.

The B-52H Stratofortress aircrew members assigned to the 20th Bomb Squadron review mission plans before boarding a 2nd Bomb Wing B-52H at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., for a flight mission in support of Exercise BALTOPS 2012 on June 10, 2012. The exercise brought together forces from 12 countries for the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Baltic Sea the first two weeks in June. In its 40th year, Exercise BALTOPS aimed to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies. The 2nd BW routinely participates in worldwide exercises to constantly refine and improve operational procedures and capabilities with other U.S. services and our allies.

Air Force Global Strike Command airmen participated in two major exercises this month, demonstrating the command’s flexibility and global reach while testing its tactics, techniques and procedures.

Airmen from the 2nd Bomb Wing’s 20th and 96th Bomb Squadrons teamed with airmen from the 307th Bomb Wing’s 343rd Bomb Squadron to generate two B-52H Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 10 in support of the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Baltic Sea.

B-52 Stratofortresses take off during a multi-aircraft generation in support of an Air Force Global Strike Command exercise, Constant Vigilance at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on June 7, 2012. The command routinely conducts training exercises to confirm that forces and weapons can perform their mission when called upon.

In its 40th year, Exercise BALTOPS 2012 was designed to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies. Nations participating in the exercise included: Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

“This type of exercise is a prime example of how teamwork among different nations can help increase stability, diminish threats to peace and strengthen relationships,” said Robert Thomson, the Air Force Global Strike Command exercise division chief. “In addition, it was a good example of how the Air Force can support the U.S. Navy’s operations by striking targets at sea.”

The B-52 crews demonstrated the ability of Air Force Global Strike Command to project conventional air power anywhere, anytime by conducting flying missions lasting more than 25 hours in duration.

In addition to AFGSC’s support for Exercise BALTOPS, aircraft from the 2nd Bomb Wing and the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., generated more than 10 aircraft from Minot AFB June 11 for a surge in support of the command’s Constant Vigilance exercise.

Using simulated weapons packages, the wings demonstrated the ability to quickly provide nuclear deterrent and global strike capability across the globe.

Both ICBM and bomb wings throughout the command participated in Constant Vigilance, which was designed to allow personnel to share and refine operational procedures command-wide.

“Constant Vigilance represents the Air Force’s drive to continually refine and improve procedures and capabilities,” said Michael Morgan, the AFGSC deputy director of operations.

“Engaging in these exercises is critical to our ability to respond quickly and efficiently to real world situations,” added Thomson. “It also demonstrates our command’s ability to successfully support both conventional and nuclear missions simultaneously.”

Maritime forces from 12 countries are in formation while participating in Exercise Baltic Operations 2012 on June 10, 2012, in the Baltic Sea. This is the 40th iteration of BALTOPS, a maritime exercise intended to improve interoperability with partner nations by conducting realistic training at sea.

A B-2 Spirit taxis down the runway in support of Air Force Global Strike Command’s exercise Constant Vigilance at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., on June 7, 2012. The command routinely conducts training operations and exercises to confirm that forces and weapons can perform their mission when called upon.

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