All Three Of the USAF’s Bomber Types Congregate Unexpectedly In Guam
The USAF sends its bomber trio to the Pacific.
It was known that B-1Bs would replace a contingent of B-52Hs currently on rotational deployment to Andersen AFB in Guam, but the arrival of B-2A’s came as a surprise. As a result of the secretive deployment, examples of all three of America’s heavy-hitting bomber force sat on the tarmac together today at America’s master air base in the Pacific. The deployment comes just days after a handful of B-2s and B-52s flew over the North Pole for a major global strike readiness exercise dubbed “Polar Roar.”
Each bomber brings a different mix of capabilities to the region. The B-1’s arrival packs with it the USAF’s heaviest-hitting conventional strike capability and considerable speed. The B-2, well, it can do what no other aircraft can—fly thousands of miles into enemy territory unrefueled and undetected and unleash a massive conventional (up to 80 independently targeted 500lb GBU-38 bombs) or nuclear payload. The B-52, like the B-1, also has the ability to drop laser-guided bombs and target them via their Sniper targeting pod. The venerable bomber also employs a host of other smart and dumb conventional munitions, and packs a big nuclear strike capability as well.
B-2s are regular visitors to Guam, as they have shared in the Continuous Bomber Presence mission with their B-52 stable-mates over the last decade – although they usually don't show up unexpectedly like the B-2s did yesterday. Both communities have lost aircraft while fulfilling the mission, with a B-52 crashing at Andersen AFB just last spring. This is the first time the B-1 has taken up the mission and the first time it has deployed to Guam in over a decade.
Having the USAF’s bombers forward deployed together in one place, at one time, is quite the show of force. Something these aircraft are used for in the region from time-to-time. It also may result in some incredible aerial photos.
The USAF states that the B-2s deployment to Guam will be limited in nature. That doesn’t mean they won’t show up along North Korea’s border or the over the South China Sea before heading back to their base in Missouri.
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