US Sends More Nuclear-Capable Bombers To The Pacific As American Warships Move Toward Korea

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The U.S. has sent half a dozen bombers and hundreds of airmen to the Pacific, the Air Force announced Tuesday, just days after a handful of stealth bombers were deployed to the region.

Six B-52H Stratofortress bombers and 300 airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam “in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission,” U.S. Pacific Air Forces said statement.

The “forward-deployed presence” of these nuclear-capable bombers “demonstrates the U.S. continued commitment to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The U.S. sent three B-2 Spirits, nuclear-capable stealth bombers, and 200 airmen to Guam earlier in January to provide support for the U.S. Pacific Command’s Bomber Assurance and Deterrence mission.

The base in Guam is already home to B-1B Lancers, supersonic bombers carrying the largest conventional munitions payload of any Air Force bomber. These powerful aircraft flew across the Korean Peninsula regularly last year, often angering North Korea, which believes the B-1B is a nuclear-capable bomber.

The last time all three bombers were stationed in Guam was in 2016.

While the Air Force is boosting its offensive bombing capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, the Navy is moving warships toward the Korean Peninsula.

The B-2 bomber deployment was preceded by the deployment of the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson to the Western Pacific. South Korea expects the carrier to move into position in waters off the Korean Peninsula around the start of the Olympics in early February.

The upgraded amphibious assault ship USS Wasp recently arrived in Japan, and the USS Ronald Reagan, another Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier, is already in the region.

North Korea perceives U.S. moves as a threat, asserting that “this mischievous behavior” is aimed at derailing talks between North Korea and the South.

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