A B-52 bomber departed RAF Fairford at 11:37pm on Sunday night and returned to base at 10:52pm on Monday.
The aircraft therefore spent around 23 hours and 25 minutes in the air.
The bomber took off and flew around Portugal and Spain, crossing the strait of Gibraltar and heading into the Mediterranean before flying to Saudi Arabia and returning.
Here’s her route.
USAF B52 CHIEF11. pic.twitter.com/hojM0TdjSk
— Manu Gómez (@GDarkconrad) February 14, 2022
She also flew with Israeli jets during the deployment.
IDF F-15 fighter jets escorted an American B-52 bomber through Israel's skies on its way from the Gulf earlier today.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) February 14, 2022
The bomber originally had company, the two bomber aircraft, callsigns CHIEF11 and CHIEF12 headed south together before CHIEF12 returned to the United Kingdom, cutting short its mission, after suffering an ‘urgent issue’.
A source told me:
“I can’t go into anything on the record but there was an issue and the aircraft is returning to the United Kingdom as a safety precaution.”
The aircraft arrived in the UK earlier this week. In an audio clip, Typhoon jets can be heard to welcome American B-52 aircraft to the United Kingdom whilst over the coast of western Scotland.
B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, support equipment, and personnel from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived at RAF Fairford, England, earlier this week to execute a long-planned Bomber Task Force mission. Bomber Task Force missions are regularly scheduled U.S. European Command and U.S. Strategic Command joint mission series.
According to a statement:
“En route to RAF Fairford, U.S. Bomber Aircraft integrated with British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission. Bomber aircraft also integrated with British Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) to conduct bilateral Close Air Support training.
The mission focused on enhancing readiness and interoperability for the controllers responsible for coordinating airstrikes to support ground forces. Regularly integrating with our allies improves our cooperation and operational capacity, capability and interoperability. Occurring since 2018, bomber rotations through Europe maintain our readiness to execute a wide variety of missions across two continents, sustaining peace through deterrence.”