Royal Air Force Fairford has seen many United States Air Force (USAF) Bomber deployments over the years but none quite like this in a long time. In the pitch dark of Tuesday August 27th 2019 call-signs “Death 11” and “Death 12”, followed a few hours later by “Death 13”, descended into RAF Fairford, deploying from their Missouri base in the United States of America.
|Death 11||82-1068||Spirit of New York|
|Death 12||89-0129||Spirit Of Georgia|
|Death 13||82-1071||Spirit of Mississippi|
The deployment is designed to practice the interoperability of the B-2A Spirits and their crews, as shown early on into the deployment with exercises conducted with 617 (The Dambusters) Squadron from RAF Marham and their F-35B Lightning II’s. As well as the interoperability with partner nations and NATO allies the deployment has demonstrated the readiness of the USAF’s Global Strike Force should the need arise to forward deploy. Whilst no official length of stay has been announced, the U.S. Air Force has confirmed that sorties will be flown up to eight times a week during the length of the deployment. Spirits have already conducting hot refuelling practices at both Keflavik Air Base, Iceland and Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal
“Our Royal Air Force friends are integral to the 509th Bomb Wing mission. 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.” Lt. Col. Rob Schoeneberg, Bomber Task Force commander, 393rd Expeditionary Squadron
South West Aviation Photographers would like to thank all at the 501st Combat Support Wing, USAF for making this article possible.