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USAF to seal the record participation: B-52H, Osprey and KC-135 to be boosted by the B-1B

31.08.2016, 14:06

The United States Air Force will be providing the proverbial icing on the cake at this year’s record-breaking NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days. Making a much welcome return to Ostrava will be the B-52 bomber, the CV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor plane and the KC-135 air tanker. On top of this and in its premiere participation at Ostrava, the B-1B strategic bomber featuring the stealth technology will also be appearing in the already stellar line-up.

The B-1B Lancer strategic supersonic, swing-wing bomber is set to become the dominant static display this year, despite its smaller size than the B-52. Its design includes the stealth (popularly known as ‘invisible’) technology and the plane was originally developed for  conducting nuclear attacks on Soviet Union. The B-1B, along with the B-52 and the B-2, forms a backbone of the US Strategic aviation. The aircraft to be presented at Ostrava belongs to the 489th Bomb Group at the Dyess AFB, Texas. Prior to appearing at the show, the bomber will be participating in the Ample Strike 2016 exercise in the Czech Republic.

“To be able to have the B-1B is a true icing on the cake in the already very rich programme this year, that is full of other ‘first-times’. The bomber will be taking part at our show only thanks to the defence cooperation between the Czech Republic and the USA manifested by the Ample Strike exercise, organized by the Czech Armed Forces,” comments Zbyněk Pavlačík, head of the Jagello 2000 Association, main organizer of the annual Ostrava show. “This will also be the first ‘stealth’ aircraft to be displayed. So our visitors will have a much better view of the bomber that radar operators would normally have,” adds Pavlačík with a smile.

The second US strategic bomber type, the B-52H from the 93rd Bomb Squadron, will be coming from its home Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Both aircraft fall under joint 307th Bomb Wing. A long time great cooperation between Jagello 2000 and this unit opened the door for the B-1B premiere participation at Ostrava this year. “Both bombers will be arriving from a US base in England and are planned to touch down at Ostrava on Tuesday, 13 September. We will inform about the precise time in sufficient advance,” assures Pavlačík.

The third static display in as many years will be made by the CV-22B Osprey, the tilt-rotor aircraft. Thanks to this unique feature, the aircraft can conduct missions that would otherwise require both a helicopter plus a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. The Osprey has a longer range than a helicopter, is more versatile and its modern avionics enables the plane to fly in adverse weather. “Two years ago, we thought the Osprey at our show is something absolutely unique, unrepeatable. We would not even dare to dream, that the machine will score a hat-trick by appearing in three successive years. We are not aware of any other show that has been enjoying such a great degree of US support,” concludes Pavlačík.

The US presentation will be completed by the KC-135 Stratotanker air-refuelling aircraft. These flying “gas-stations” are indispensable in modern air operations as they extend the range of strategic bombers and fighter aircraft. The 2-bomber and a tanker display can thus be viewed as a consolidated presentation of a single complex strategic capability. 

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