Two Saudi Royal Air Force fighter jets escorted the US B-52H Stratofortress bombers across the Kingdom’s airspace on Thursday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday.
A pair of U.S. Air Force B-52H "Stratofortresses" assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base operated in the CENTCOM area of responsibility with other @usairforce and regional partner aircraft in the second mission in as many months. Dec. 10, 2020 @USAFCENT https://t.co/zpZBxQ5uh7 pic.twitter.com/xZ5GzHnIo8— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 10, 2020
The flight of the two massive B-52H bombers over the region, the second such mission in less than a month, was designed to underscore America's continuing commitment to the Middle East even as President Donald Trump's administration withdraws thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The long-range heavy bombers, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, are a formidable sight and are flown less frequently in the Middle East than smaller combat aircraft, such as American fighter jets. Adversaries often complain about bomber flights in their region, deeming them a provocative show of force.