Revealed: Why US B-2 stealth bombers were flying over Norfolk
- Credit: UK Ministry of Defence 2019
American B-2 stealth bombers seen in our skies have been training with the RAF's newest warplane, defence sources say.
Training flights with the RAF Marham-based F-35 Lightnings are the first sorties the US aircraft have flown with foreign forces.
Group Capt Richard Yates, chief of staff at UK Air Battle Staff, said: "We're delighted that the USAF and 501st Wing Bomber Task Force are here in the UK and that our F-35 Lightning pilots have the chance to fly alongside and train with the B-2 bomber crews. This is the first time that any other country has done this.
"This flying integration builds on the work of Exercise Lightning Dawn in Cyprus and the visit of RAF F-35 Lightning to Italy in June, where in both cases it had the opportunity to prove itself among other NATO allies who also operate the aircraft."
Lieut Col Rob Schoeneberg, bomber task force commander, said: "Our Royal Air Force friends are integral to the 509th Bomb Wing mission.
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"The beauty of our partnerships is that we get to understand how they see the world. Working alongside international fifth-generation aircraft provides unique training opportunities for us, bolsters our integration capabilities, and showcases the commitment we have to our NATO alliance."
The B-2s have been based at RAF Fairford, Glos, during their deployment.
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The distinctive delta-shaped aircraft were seen over both Norfolk and Suffolk towards the end of last week. Operational details of the exercises have not been revealed.
The B-2, which entered service in the late 1980s, has a crew of two. It can carry up to 80 500lbs guided bombs and fly at 630mph.