WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The deployment of three types of US bomber jets to Europe is a show of force and not in response to any specific threat, US 3rd Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark said on Monday.
"There’s no tangible threat that drove this deployment…We’re not trying to respond to any particular threat we’re just trying to respond to any threat that may come our way," Clark stated.
Speaking from Fairfield, where the UK Royal Air Force base is located, Clark told reporters the deployment was a show of force.
He explained the bombers will participate in multinational exercises such as Arctic Challenge, Saber Strike and BALTOPS to demonstrate that they can be assembled at any time.
"They [bombers] are not armed. They are strictly on a training mission, and there were no live-fire components to the training exercises," Clark told reporters on a press call.
Intercepts of US bomber jets by Russian Air Force planes benefit both crews with additional training when they are done safely and professionally, US 3rd Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark said on Monday.
"In some ways I think it benefits both crews to be able to work through this and offer some level of training" Clark told reporters on a press call.
He said intercepts are common practice and both US and Russian air crews appear to be trained for them. Recent intercepts have continued to be safe and professional and have not created a hazard to US or Russian crews, he added.
"As long as they remain that way this won’t be a problem," Clark said.
On Friday, US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said Russia conducted a routine and safe intercept of US aircraft over the Baltic Sea during the BALTOPS military exercise.
The US European Command said Friday that the B-2 bombers will not be supporting the BALTOPS to Saber Strike exercises.
The B-1 and B-52 bombers will be deployed for about three weeks for the exercises, while the B-2s will be in theater for a shorter amount of time, Clark said.