The U.S. Air Force announced that B-52 Stratofortress has entered European airspace on a mission to participate in the Astral Knight 2019 exercise at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The mission, scheduled to take off and land from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, has been closely coordinated with allies and partners in the region.
Astral Knight is an exercise taking place throughout various locations in Europe, involving over 900 Airmen and supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies and U.S. forces in Europe.
The exercise is an integrated air and missile defense exercise focused on conducting defense of key terrain. Training will involve a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios.
The participation of strategic bombers in exercises like Astral Knight demonstrates U.S. commitment to assuring allies, deterring adversaries and enhancing regional security.
The B-52 is assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB.
Also, the U.S. and Italian Air Forces aircraft consisting of F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, a B-52 Stratofortress and a KC-135 Stratotanker, flew in formation over the Adriatic Sea during Astral Knight 2019 exercise.