Danish F-16s supporting NATO’s continuous Air Policing mission, along with JAS-39 Gripens from the Partnership for Peace nation of Sweden, conducted intercept training with a U.S. long range bomber. Additionally, Typhoons from Great Britain – one of the Baltic Air Policing detachments – were airborne in western Estonia training areas while the bomber transited the Baltic Sea off the Estonian coast. The exercise took place in European international airspace, including over the Baltic Sea and the English Channel.
Air Policing forces, which protect Alliance airspace on a 24/7 basis, used the opportunity to practice interoperability and intercepting procedures with U.S aircraft of a different size and capability.
As part of exercise POLAR ROAR, a B-52 Stratofortress from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, B-52s from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot AFB, North Dakota and B-2 spirits from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Missouri conducted simultaneous non-stop flights from the U.S. to the North and Baltic Seas, around the North Pole and over Alaska and over the Pacific Ocean to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, respectively.
NATO Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), through its Combined Air Operations Center-Uedem, used Air Surveillance and Control System, Air Command and Control, and Air Defence assets, including national contributions of interceptors, to train its peacetime collective defence Air Policing mission. Allied and Partner jets scrambled to train intercept procedures at designated points in the exercise, and the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force aircraft ensured command and control during operations.
“AIRCOM welcomed this opportunity to train with a U.S. aircraft, in a simulated air intercept scenario, for this exercise,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Huyck, AIRCOM Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. “Our Air Policing assets in Northern Europe and throughout the region embraced the unique training event which further enhanced our ability to preserve NATO airspace integrity.”
NATO’s Air Policing mission preserves and safeguards the integrity of Alliance airspace. Scrambles are launched within minutes in response to aircraft not following international flight regulations or approaching NATO member countries’ airspace. All aircraft involved in the exercise flew in accordance with international air safety procedures, including the use of transponders.
Alliance members and partner countries use every opportunity to conduct collective training in order to meet the challenges of an evolving security environment.
“Exercises like POLAR ROAR enhance cooperation and reinforce NATO’s credible and visible posture in preserving a safe and secure environment,” General Huyck concluded.