by U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs
4/3/2015 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Two
B-52 Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base,
N.D., and a pair from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.,
completed today simultaneous, roundtrip sorties from their U.S. bases to
the Arctic and North Sea regions, respectively.
The training mission, coined POLAR GROWL, allowed the aircrews to hone
their navigation skills and enhanced their ability to work with Allied
partners, while demonstrating U.S. Strategic Command capacity.
"These flights, demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our
strategic bomber force in internationally-recognized flight information
regions, are the culmination of months of planning and coordination,"
said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. "They are
one of many ways we demonstrate interoperability, compliance with
national and international protocols and due regard for the safety of
all aircraft sharing the air space."
Each of the two legs of POLAR GROWL provided unique training
opportunities, all while testing the bomber force's command and control
apparatus' ability to support two synchronized flight paths. The bomber
crews flying the North Sea route participated in dissimilar air
intercept maneuvers with fighter aircraft flown by the Royal Canadian
Air Force, the U.K.'s Royal Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air
Force. In addition to conducting dissimilar air intercept maneuvers with
Royal Canadian Air Force fighters, bomber crews on the Arctic leg of
the mission transited around the North Pole, providing the crews
invaluable training in polar navigation.
"Today's dynamic global security environment is an interdependent world
where international partnerships are foundational," Haney continued.
"Exercises and operations such as these bomber flights enable and
enhance relationships with our Allies and partners, and allow others to
understand what capabilities U.S. Strategic Command brings to the
The U.S. regularly conducts combined training and theater security
cooperation engagements with Allies and partners. The combined training
provided in POLAR GROWL follows the participation of B-52s in NATO
Exercise NOBLE JUSTIFICATION in October 2014 and the deployment of B-52s
and B-2s to RAF Fairford, U.K., in June 2014, both of which provided
occasions to train alongside U.S. Allies and partners.
"The long-range nature of the mission, coupled with the opportunity to
interact, in real-time, with Allied aircraft was an invaluable
experience that simply can't be replicated out of the cockpit," said
Maj. Nathan Barnhart, 343rd Bomb Squadron instructor radar navigator.
"Training like this ensures we are ready to respond to any and all
mission directives across the globe."
Flown in support of both U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern
Command, POLAR GROWL was specifically designed to demonstrate U.S.
commitment to Allies and enhancement of regional security, and not
directed at any country.
Additionally, U.S. forces conduct all flights in accordance with the
procedures outlined in the International Civil Aviation Organization
international standards and recommended practices. By conducting flights
that follow the ICAOs fundamental objectives, regional safety is
enhanced to prevent any chance of misunderstanding.
The B-52 Stratofortress is capable of delivering large payload of
precision nuclear or conventional ordnance over long ranges, while also
providing decision makers the ability to rapidly project military power
and generate decisive effects.