Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today ordered the deployment of six B-52 aircraft to the Royal Air Force base Fairford, United Kingdom. The aircraft, based at Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City, La., are expected to depart for England this evening. One RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft and 13 tanker aircraft will support the deployment.
The deployment is another in the steps U.S. forces are taking to be prepared in the event a decision is made to respond militarily to the situation in Kosovo. Any decision to initiate military operations will require further decisions by NATO. The international community is determined to see an end to the violence and repression in Kosovo. If Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic fails to respond fully to the demands of the international community and to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1199, NATO has plans to use force to gain his compliance by using air strikes that will damage his ability to conduct military operations.
The B-52s are part of a total of about 260 aircraft that the U.S. has committed to support air operations developed by NATO to date. Most of the U.S. combat aircraft committed to the NATO effort are stationed at bases in Europe or are aboard the aircraft carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER now deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.
For further information about the departure of the B-52s, contact 1st Lt. Mike Braibish, Barksdale Air Force Base public affairs officer, at (318) 456-3065 or 5503. For arrival information, contact Maj. Robin Grantham at 011-44-1285-714-566 or 564.