Long-range American bomber spotted above Norfolk's skies

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk - Credit: Gary Dent

One of the most distinctive military aircraft of all time has been spotted in Norfolk's skies.

Members of the public near Marham saw an American B-52 long-range strategic bomber flying overhead yesterday afternoon, February 10.

Four of the aircraft, support equipment, and personnel arrived in the UK yesterday from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Their arrival on these shores comes at a time of rising international tensions over a threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, officials say the presence of the aircraft is part of a "long-planned" training mission.

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk - Credit: Gary Dent

Nicknamed 'Buffs', for 'Big Ugly Fat Fellows', B-52s have been in service since the 1950s and are a symbol of the Cold War.

The four aircraft are being based at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire for a routine Bomber Task Force mission - a joint operation involving US European Command and US Strategic Command.

The B-52s are also integrated with British Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to focus on enhancing readiness and interoperability for coordinating airstrikes to support ground forces.

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“With an ever-changing global security environment, it’s critical that our efforts with our allies and partners are unified,” said Gen Jeff Harrigian, USAFE-AFAFRICA Commander.

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk

USAF B-52 over RAF Marham, Norfolk - Credit: Gary Dent

“We’re in Europe training and collaborating together because consistent integration is how we strengthen our collective airpower.”

The US Air Force said the bomber rotation reinforces US commitment to its allies in NATO and coalition partners and also maintains collective safety and sovereignty. 

While en route to the UK, the B-52s were joined by British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission.