European SITREP, 9-10 February 2022

Late in the evening hours (US time) of 9 February, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota launched a quartet of B-52Hs, bound for RAF Fairford, the longtime forward base for USAF Bomber Task Force deployments in Europe. Over the previous days, flights by C-5M Super Galaxies and chartered Boeing 747s had brought support equipment and personnel to Fairford, located in Gloucestershire.

The B-52s, using the radio callsign HATE, met up with four tankers on track AR-20 for refueling over Nova Scotia - one KC-135T from the Pennsylvania ANG's 171st ARW at Pittsburgh, two KC-135Rs, and a single KC-46A Pegasus. Upon arriving in the UK, several of the bombers operated over Scotland with RAF Typhoon fighters before landing at Fairford.

To further bolster forces near Ukraine, the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath has deployed F-15C/D air superiority model Eagles to Lask Air Base in Poland.

Surveillance of Crimea, Russia, and Belarus has continued with flights of an RAF AirSeeker (RC-135) and an RQ-4 Global Hawk, among other platforms.

Update: One of only two RC-135U Combat Sents of the 55th Wing, callsign OLIVE49, has left the 55th's temporary home at the Lincoln Municipal Airport in Nebraska, and headed east. The  "U-Boat" variant is more specialized than the more common RC-135V/W Rivet Joints, and the wide variety of Russian radar systems being deployed are no doubt valuable intelligence targets to be listened to. While at the time of writing it is not certain that OLIVE49 is indeed headed for Europe, it seems quite likely.

Update: RAF C-17 ZZ172 is at the time of writing returning home after delivering NLAWS anti-tank munitions to Ukraine. Interestingly, the flight (at least the return) went directly through German airspace, in contrast to earlier missions.

ALBM-armed MiG-31s

Reports compiled from adsb logs

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