The US Air Force is deploying B-1 Lancer bombers along with 200 airmen to Norway, marking the first US bomber deployment to the country. The deployment comes as the US is looking to expand its military footprint in the Arctic to confront Russia.
US European Command said in a statement that the airmen and bombers “will be a part of the advance team for scheduled missions in the coming weeks which will occur for a limited time.” The statement did not say how long the deployment will last.
US bombers have previously flown alongside Norwegian jets in the Arctic Ocean, but this will be the first time US bombers will be flying out of Norway.
With Washington’s new focus on the region, the US and Norway have been stepping up military cooperation. Although they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, large cold weather exercises with the militaries of the US, UK, the Netherlands, and Germany were scheduled to take place in Norway at the end of January. About 1,000 US Marines arrived in Norway to take part in the now-canceled drills.
In July, the US Air Force released an Arctic defense strategy that outlined a plan to bolster its defense in the waters to counter Russia and China. The US Navy released a similar strategy in January.