The fourth Sabre Strike exercise was held between the 9th and 20th June 2014. During the three-week exercise 10 countries including the United States, would practice techniques and protocols for coordinating action in defense and assault operations throughout the Baltic region.
Although the mission patch suggests otherwise, the US Government advised that the deployment of 3 B-52H Stratofortress (2 from Barksdale AFB and the other from Minot AFB) and 2 B-2A Spirit's (both from Whiteman AFB) along with 150 ground personnel to RAF Fairford in Gloustershire, England, was not officially connected to the Sabre Strike Exercise. RAF Fairford is the United States Air Force strategic deployment base for global strike missions.
Operation Sabre Strike 2014, RAF Fairford, England
The B-2A Spirits were deployed on a familiarization mission, attending for the first week only. Like the B-52, a single crew would fly 4-5 hour missions carrying out similar missions. Air-to-air refueling was mainly for the benefit of the 100thARW based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, allowing boom operators training on this particular type of aircraft.
During the final days a multi-crew 20hr plus global mission took place. Both B-2A's departed south over the Atlantic before returning to base the following day. The mission demonstrated the ability of crews to adapt to extreme duration missions, carry out command and weapons training whilst operating from a base other than Whiteman AFB.
Commanders from all squadrons hailed the success of the deployment. Valuable experience has been gained by all personnel, both ground and flight crews, demonstrating their ability to operate professionally and effectively in an environment away from home soil.
Both type of aircraft participated in two flights per day. The B-52's mission was to obtain UK navigation training and strengthen the relationships between US bomber units. A single crew would fly 4-8 hour missions carrying out weapons, navigation and air-to-air refueling scenarios.