B-52s dropped live bombs over Vidsel in northern Sweden

On 18 August, the Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) conducted a combined joint exercise with the US Bomber Task Force and the Norwegian Air Force. Swedish JAS Gripen aircraft escorted a number of US B-52 Stratofortress across Swedish airspace. Ground units then indicated targets in the Vidsel exercise area in northern Sweden that were neutralised with live bombs, dropped by the B-52s.

Stridsflygplan i luften
Stridsflygplan i luften
Two Swedish JAS 39 Gripen in a combined joint exercise with a Norwegian F-35 and a US B-52 Stratofortress above Andøya in northern Norway. Photo: The Norwegian Armed Forces

It is the first time that live bombs were dropped since the SwAF started exercising with the US Bomber Task Force.

“Exercises such as this one involves several elements; coordination, communication, and escort in Swedish airspace, until neutralisation of hostile targets in Swedish airspace can be achieved. The exercise proves that there is a smooth sequence of events”, says Commander Swedish Air Force, Carl-Johan Edström.

During the exercise, a number of actions were coordinated between US Air Force and Swedish ground units. Three live GBU-31 bombs were dropped by the B52s, hitting ground targets identified by the Swedish ground unit.

“The war in Ukraine has clearly indicated the importance of long-range suppression capability. By conducting this exercise, we have considerably enhanced our defence capability. This is of major importance, not least in light of the pending Swedish NATO membership”, says Carl-Johan Edström.

During the exercise, the Swedish Air Force also cooperated with the Norwegian Air Force in Norwegian airspace.