The purpose the U.S. is pursuing by sending four B-1B Lancer strategic bombers to Norway is to put pressure on Russia. This is a signal of the intentions of Joe Biden’s administration, which will attract the close attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This opinion was expressed by the American military expert Jerry Hendricks to Forbes magazine.
“B-1Bs armed with missiles pose a serious threat to Russia’s Northern Fleet. By flying sorties from Norway, the United States certainly wants to show that this threat is real,” he believes.
“The conclusion is clear: this redeployment will attract Putin’s close attention,” the expert argues.
In the coming weeks, U.S. bombers and F-35 stealth fighters from the Norwegian Air Force should be expected to train together, interacting with NATO ships, aircraft, and ground forces, particularly from the alliance’s northern member states.
“It appears to be a coordinated effort to support American allies and to put pressure on the Russians,” he said.
The expert recalled that Northern Europe has long been a stage on which Russian bombers also play their roles: Tu-95, Tu-22M and Tu-160 regularly conduct training flights over northern waters, probing the airspace of NATO and its partner Sweden.
“There is a special symbolism in this. The bombers signal their intent and thus make an impact without firing a single missile. Russian pilots fly their bombers in the North Atlantic and around Britain. And the U.S. is showing by its actions that this game can be played in two,” Hendricks noted about the B-1B transfers.
Norway is one of NATO’s sites providing access to the crucial North Sea and the Arctic Ocean, he stressed. The so-called Faro-Icelandic Line, a NATO anti-submarine defense line in the North Atlantic that stretches across Greenland, Iceland, and Britain, creates an obstacle for submarines and surface ships of the Russian Navy.
“The Alliance is rallying against a resurgent Russia. The deployment of B-1Bs is one of Washington’s contributions to this campaign,” Hendricks said.
He said one B-1B could carry 24 AGM-158C LRASM anti-ship missiles with a launch range of 480 kilometers. Thus, a wing of several B-1Bs has about the same firepower against enemy ships as the entire air wing of the US aircraft carrier. The long-range of the bomber, which flies thousands of miles between refueling, give it freedom of maneuver in the sky.
EADaily has already reported that the U.S. Air Force Command will send four B-1B Lancer and 200 servicemen to Norway in the coming days. This will be the first deployment of bombers to Norway. The U.S. planes will fly sorties from Orland Air Base in central Norway, where the Norwegian Air Force’s F-35 stealth fighters are stationed. The European Command of the U.S. Armed Forces does not disclose “details of specific missions and their number within operational security standards,” but stresses that “the U.S. Air Force regularly deploys its aircraft and units in Europe to carry out its missions and objectives.”
We should add that the upcoming B-1B winter sortie is a continuation of the aggressive U.S. policy of moving other strategic bombers, the B-52H Stratofortress, to Britain last fall. At that time they flew over the whole of Europe, training together with the fighter aircraft of the allies.