A United States Air Force B52 Stratofortress leads a formation of aircraft including Polish air force F16 Fighting Falcons, U.S. Air Force F16 Fighting Falcons, German Eurofighter Typhoons and Swedish Gripens over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2016.
On Saturday, the B-52 long-range bomber will be dropping some inert mines over the water to test its targeting skills during BALTOPS 2016.
Dropping mines is something the B-52 is capable of “but we don’t get a chance to do too often,” said Col. Kieran Denehan, 5th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.
“We’ll be dropping 500-pound dummy mines, set up like a real mine, with a tail kit, and employment characteristics but it’s just concrete,” said Lt Col. Michael Maginness, 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander.
Two B-52 strategic bombers from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, landed last week at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom. A third Minot bomber has since joined them.
The job will be to hit their sea targets, or the “splash points,” evaluated by the U.S. Navy, to see just how well the bomber can hit up a mine field if it were laden with explosives.
The same will be done during U.S. Army Europe-led Saber Strike, working with joint terminal attack controllers on the ground.