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U.S. Deploys B-52s to England to Support NATO

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 1999 – The United States has ordered six B-52 bombers to deploy to Royal Air Force Base Fairford, United Kingdom, to support possible NATO air operations aimed at ending the conflict in Kosovo.

The planes are to depart Barksdale Air Force Base, La., within the next two days, Pentagon officials said here Feb. 19.

NATO is gearing up for air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in case peace talks underway in France fail to produce a political settlement. The six- nation Contact group set a Feb. 20 deadline for an agreement.

The six U.S. bombers are part of a total force of about 260 aircraft the United States has committed to support air operations developed by NATO. Most of the U.S. combat aircraft are stationed at bases in Europe or aboard the USS Enterprise in the Mediterranean Sea.

Feb. 17, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen ordered 51 aircraft to deploy from the United States to European staging areas to support NATO operations.

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