Bomber Task Force Europe 20-1


Word on the street at Fairford at the end of September was that a B-52 deployment was imminent. Only 4 days after the last B-2 equipment had left, a pair of Boeing 747s arrived in Fairford from Barksdale Air Force Base for Bomber Task Force Europe 20-1. From October 4th to 8th, at least 1 aircraft arrived every day with support. 2 747s on the 4th, 1 Boeing 767 on the 5th, another Boeing 767 on the 6th, another 747 on the 7th, and a Lockheed Martin C-5M on the 8th. And once again, with the personnel and kit on the ground, we await the jets!

Atlas Air Boeing 767 N645GT GTI8201

Late evening on Thursday 10th of October saw the arrival of no less than 4 B-52s from Barksdale. 3 flew a mission over Europe, and as such, touched down at gone 22:00. One came direct, however, and landed just shy of 21:00. Rumours suggested that another 4 were due the next day, although this turned out to be false. 

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 60-0024

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 60-0028

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 61-0006/60-0028 

The only action I saw from the deployment was on October 19th, when the suggestion was that a pair would be departing that morning on a long sortie. We gambled on the rumour and started to head for Fairford. A NOTAM was posted for the airfield stating it would be open between certain hours. When we arrived, their engines were already running! It didn't take long for AFKAI11 flight of 2 to call up Fairford tower requesting taxi clearance. They departed at around 10:10 destined for the Middle East. They returned much later in the day. 

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 60-0025 AFKAI11

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 61-0006 AFKAI12

USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 60-0025 AFKAI11 & 61-0006 AFKAI12 

On 8th November, 3 of the 4 jets departed for home as BRIG flight. The final jet left on November 12th. November 12th also saw the arrival of a C-5 to pick up some of the kit. What should've likely been a quick turnaround however turned into a fortnight in England for C-5 69-0024, which caught a bad case of the Fairford curse. In the pilot Q&A section of my site, you can find a Q&A I did with a C-5 crew member who was actually stuck in Europe with that jet over those 2 weeks! 3 747s and a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 took the rest of the kit and the personnel back to Louisiana. 

USAF Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy 69-0024

With credit to and help from both The Official Fighter Control Website and the RAF Fairford Movements Blog, the full list of aircraft involved is below.

Kalitta Air 747 N740CK CMB565

Kalitta Air 747 N709CK CMB577

Atlas Air 747 N480MC GTI8448

Atlas Air 747 N477MC GTI8570

Atlas Air 747 N409MC GTI8568

Atlas Air 767 N645GT GTI8201

Omni Air International 767 N378AX CMB595

Western Global Airlines MD-11 N512JN CMB575

USAF C-5M 69-0024 RCH614 - 436th AMW

USAF C-5M 87-0039 RCH551 - 439th AW

USAF B-52H 60-0024 - 20th Bomb Squadron 'Buccaneers' - 2nd Bomb Wing 

USAF B-52H 60-0025 'Ol Crow Express II' - 20th Bomb Squadron 'Buccaneers' - 2nd Bomb Wing

USAF B-52H 60-0028 'The Tired Eagle' - 96th Bomb Squadron 'Red Devils' - 2nd Bomb Wing

USAF B-52H 61-0006 - 'Old Soldier II' - 96th Bomb Squadron 'Red Devils' - 2nd Bomb Wing