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US to send 3 B-52 strategic bombers to Baltic military drills

June 02, 2016, 8:42 UTC+3

Three B-52 Stratofortresses will participate in US European Command’s Exercises Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 16, Saber Strike 16 and US Africa Command’s Just Hammer, US Strategic Command said

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WASHINGTON, June 2. /TASS/. The United States will send three B-52 strategic bombers to UK to take part in upcoming military drills, US Strategic Command said on Thursday.

"Three B-52 Stratofortresses are scheduled to deploy June 2 from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, to participate in US European Command’s Exercises Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 16 and Saber Strike 16, and US Africa Command’s Just Hammer," US Strategic Command said.

BALTOPS 16 drills will take place on June 3-19 with participation of 15 NATO member countries, Finland and Sweden. Around 6,100 servicemen are expected to take part in the military exercise. Saber Strike 16 drills started in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia on May 27. The drills held by 13 countries will run until June 22.

"This deployment marks the third year in a row that strategic bombers have deployed to RAF Fairford and trained with US and allied military forces," US Strategic Command said.

"Integrating strategic bombers with multi-national operations in a variety of scenarios enhances the readiness and capability of US and NATO military forces, which is vital to global security," said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, US Strategic Command commander. "Ensuring we can operate from strategic forward locations like RAF Fairford is integral to our collective defense capabilities and a more timely and coordinated response during crises."

"The most recent deployment of B-52s to Europe was in March in support of Exercises Cold Response and Serpentex," US Strategic Command reminded.

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