B-1 bombers flew the first Bomber Task Force mission since deployment to Norway, the U.S. Air Force said on Friday, a show of force near Russian naval bases.
The two bombers arrived in Norway earlier this week. Support aircraft and over 200 Air Force personnel arrived at Orland Air Base, where Norway's F-35 fleet is also stationed, in the first week of February.
On Friday, the planes "conducted tactical missions with Norwegian F-35 and Norwegian naval assets in the Norwegian Sea," an Air Force statement on Friday said.
The sea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean in the Arctic area, is adjacent to the Barents Sea, waters regarded as "Russia's Naval Backyard" and the home of the Russian Northern Fleet's ballistic missile submarines.
Russia was not specifically mentioned in any U.S. Air Force statement since the B-1s arrived on Monday in Norway, but Gen. Jeff Harrigan, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa, made reference to motivations for the deployment.
Last week the Russian Defense Ministry announced the potential for missile tests in the area between Feb. 18 and Feb. 24.