U.S. nuclear-capable B-52s, Turkish F-16s fly over Black Sea in message to Russia
U.S. Air Force reported that two U.S. B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers flew over the Aegean Sea escorted by Greek F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft and over the Black Sea with the same warplanes from Turkey.
The B-52s are part of the U.S. Bomber Task Force Europe that has deployed all three long-range bombers formerly the triad of the American nuclear/nuclear-capable bomber fleet during the Cold War: the B-52H Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit. The three bombers have flown over almost of all Europe in recent months. B-52s recently flew over the ongoing U.S.-led Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) war games on Russia’s northwest border and on May 31 B-52s flew over all thirty NATO member states escorted at times by 80 NATO combat aircraft.
The Black Sea is a Pentagon/NATO stronghold, with every littoral state there except for Russia a NATO member or Enhanced Opportunities Partner: Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. The U.S. has recently deployed its fifth guided-missile warship there this year. Hardly a week goes by that doesn’t see a U.S. and/or NATO military exercise in the sea and in the nations bordering it.
This summer the annual Sea Breeze naval and air war games will begin in and off the coast of Ukraine in its Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Odessa regions. This year’s iteration will include 30 warships, 30 military aircraft and military personnel from 27 NATO member and partner states.
Perhaps a nuclear-capable bomber or two will fly over to deliver a firm warning to Russia.