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Saab JAS 39 Gripen Look Puny Chasing B-52 Stratofortress Over Sweden

With all the violence now taking place in Eastern Europe, nations further to the West are very interested in getting assurances from their allies, especially the U.S., that, if need be, some serious firepower can be sent to defend them. And there are few things that scream firepower than the mighty Big Ugly Fat Fella.
Saab JAS 39 Gripens trailing B-52 Stratofortress 12 photos
B-52 Stratofortress at the Changi Air BaseB-52 Stratofortress taking offB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 Stratofortress after refueling op
BUFF for short, the nickname has been stuck to the wings of the B-52 Stratofortress for a long time now. And it will probably be around some more, as the mammoth bomber is poised to become the world’s first aircraft to still be operational 100 years after the first of its kind rolled off the lines.

As of June 2019, there were close to 60 such beasts still in operation with the American Air Force (USAF), and 18 others held in reserve. All of them are stationed at just two USAF bases and are flown by three wings: 2nd Bomb, 5th Bomb, and 307th Bomb.

But operated from just two bases in the U.S. does not mean those are the only places you’ll find them, though. Some of the planes, like the one we have here, are deployed overseas, reassuring America’s allies of a constant big brother with massive weapons lurking in the sky.

So is the one whose tail is visible here, as it flew over the Swedish countryside back in February, after taking off from the RAF Fairford base in the United Kingdom. As soon as it got over Swedish ground, the bomber was greeted by two Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets, which started trailing it, looking all puny and insignificant by pure size comparison.

The Stratofortress seen here is deployed with the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (5th Bomb Wing), and took flight over Sweden as part of a sortie meant to “practice establishing communications between the aircraft.”

Editor's note: Gallery shows other B-52s.

 
 
 
 
 

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