Friday, August 12, 2016

USAF dispatches strategic bombers to South China Sea

The United States Air Force (USAF) has deployed an undisclosed number of supersonic B-1B Lancer heavy strategic bombers to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the western Pacific to replace the base’s fleet of B-52H long-range heavy bombers, U.S. Pacific Command announced on August 8.

It is the first time in over a decade that the United States has dispatched its heaviest supersonic strategic bomber to the Asia-Pacific region. The USAF’s 62 B-1B Lancers are capable of carrying up to 75,000 pounds (34,000 kilograms) of weapons—the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the USAF’s inventory.
Though heavily armed, the bomber can reach a top speed of Mach 1.2 and can operate at altitudes above 30,000 feet (9,100 meters). The B-1B bombers will be permanently stationed on Guam as part of U.S. Pacific Command’s so-called Continuous Bomber Presence.

On August 9, the USAF also dispatched three B-2 Spirits nuclear-capable stealth bombers to Guam.