Exercise Baltops is an Annual NATO Exercise that takes place in "Russia's back yard" of the Baltic states. This NATO exercise took in Air, Land and Sea assets from 13 nations including the The United Kingdom and US and tests NATO's readiness to counter any land based European threat.
Part of the US assets for this years exercise are three B52H from 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota and are based at RAF Fairford for the duration of the exercise. Two B52H using the callsigns ICER11 and ICER12 flew daily missions from RAF Fairford across the North Sea to Lithuania and returning to RAF Fairford a round trip of approximately 6 hours.
The two week long Baltops exercise being held at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire coincided with the regular six weekly U2S rotation. Dragon 21 U-2S 80-1076 arriving from the middle east and Dragon 86 U-2S 80-1089 arriving from Beal Air Force Base.