US Air Force B-1B bombers on Barents Sea mission met by Russian fighter jet

A file photo of a B-1B Lancer (L) and a B-52 Stratofortress, escorted by Swedish Jas 39 Gripen fighter aircrafts (the smaller planes), over Stockholm, Sweden, on March 6, 2024, as the Swedish armed forces conduct a joint exercise with the American Bomber Task Force. (Anders Wiklund/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)

A pair of US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers supported by tanker planes flew over Norway and international airspace in the Norwegian- and Barents Seas in the direction of Russia’s Kola Peninsula on Sunday.

A MiG-31 fighter jet was scrambled from an airbase in the Murmansk region to meet the US bombers, Russia’s Defense Ministry informs in the afternoon on Sunday.

According to the ministry, the US bombers approached but turned away from Russian airspace.

‘We cannot detail the activity’

Norway’s Armed Forces are partly reluctant to provide information about the flights. Asked by the Barents Observer, the Joint Headquarters near Bodø, however, confirms that the planes were inside Norwegian airspace before flying out over international airspace in the Barents Sea.

“The activity included both Norwegian and international airspace,” says spokesperson Reidar Flasnes.

“We cannot detail the activity,” Flasnes says and points to the United States as in charge of Sunday’s flights. He adds that the flights are “approved by Norway’s Ministry of Defense.”

No comment yet on Arctic bomber mission

The operation included three US KC-135R Stratotankers flying out of Mildenhall airbase north of London Sunday morning. The three tankers flew north over Norway and Sweden. Inside the Arctic Circle, the tankers provided fuel support for the US bombers and possibly also to supporting NATO fighter jets.

The US European Command has not yet commented on Sunday’s Arctic bomber mission.

Last weekend marked the end of the Norwegian-led high-profile NATO exercise Nordic Response 2024. About 20,000 soldiers, military aircraft and over 50 submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carrier, and various amphibious vessels participated in the training of reinforcement to Norway by allied forces inside the Arctic Circle in case of war.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: U.S. report claims Trudeau told NATO Canada will never meet military spending target, CBC News

Denmark: Danish policy prioritizes low-conflict Arctic amidst Russian tensions, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandNATO membership strengthens Arctic Security, deepens Canada ties: Finnish Ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Russian jamming disrupting GPS signals for Norwegian aviation almost daily, The Independent Barents Observer

RussiaAs NATO forces move north for exercise, Northern Fleet sails out frigates, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish forces exercise in northern Norway as country officially joins NATO, Reuters

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *