A B-1B Lancer positions behind a KC-135 Stratotanker. When flying long distance missions above the Arctic Circles, the strategic bombers conduct air-to-air refueling from tankers. Photo: Master Sgt. Nicholas Priest 4th Combat Camera Squadron

U.S. strategic bombers fly second Barents Sea mission this week

A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet was scrambled from the Kola Peninsula to identify the pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers over the Barents Sea. Simultaneously were a Swedish and a U.S. intelligence gathering planes active north, west and south of the Murmansk region.
March 26, 2024


The American bombers’ mission is the second in a few days to areas outside Russia’s strategic important submarine bases on the coast of the Barents Sea.

On Sunday, the U.S. planes were met by a MiG-31, as reported by the Barents Observer

Flight patterns for the mission on Tuesday is not detailed, but the American bombers came over international air space from outside Norway in the west. 

“As the Russian fighter approached, the American strategic bombers adjusted their flight course, moving away and then turning away from the state border of the Russian Federation,” a statement from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow said.

The U.S. European Command has not commented on the flights over the Barents Sea.

On Sunday, the two B-1B bombers flew south to Morón Air Base in Spain. U.S. Air Force in Europe said the deployment to Spain will fly sorties and “operate alongside numerous Allies and partners” …. to “assure security commitments across the United States Europan Command area of responsibility.”

Earlier in February, a pair of B-1B bombers were deployed to Kallax Air Base near Luleå in northern Sweden simultaneously as the Norway-led NATO exercise Nordic Response 2024 to part above the Arctic Circle.


Both the United States and Sweden had military intelligence planes in the air up north on Tuesday. While the U.S. RC-135V Rivet Joint flew north of the Kola Peninsula, a Swedish Korpen plane flew in Finnish airspace south- and west of the Murmansk region. With the missions, NATO had a good view of the heavily militarized corner of Russia from different angles. 


This RC-135V Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft flew back and forth outside the Kola Peninsula at the same time as the strategic bombers were in the area. The plane collects national near real-time on-scene intelligence for the United States. Screenshot from FlightRadar24.com


The United States’ flights to the Barents Sea by strategic bombers and intelligence-gathering planes come as Russia’s Northern Fleet has two of its newest warships in training; the frigates Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov.

For Moscow, the Kola Peninsula is of strategic importance both because of the nuclear submarine forces and because of the Olenya Air Base from where Russia’s strategic bombers fly waves of attacks on Ukraine.




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