'NUKE' BOMBER PATROL Nuclear-capable US B-1B bombers fly over South Korea in show of force –
That possibility hugely increases fears for US allies in the region and also poses a threat to US bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam.
“North Korea’s nuclear test is a dangerous escalation and poses an unacceptable threat,” General Vincent K. Brooks, US Forces Korea commander, said earlier today.
“The United States has an unshakeable commitment to defend allies in the region and will take necessary steps to do so, including operations like this one today.”
The B-1Bs were joined by US F-16 and South Korean F-15 fighters in the low-level flyover of Osan Air Base, 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of the South Korean capital of Seoul.
“Today’s demonstration provides just one example of the full range of military capabilities in the deep resources of this strong alliance to provide and strengthen extended deterrence,” Brooks said.
The bomber which flew over South Korea were moved to the Andersen Air Force base in Guam in August as part of what the US Pacific Command calls it Continuous Bomber Presence.
It is the first time the B-1Bs, which have the largest payload of any US bomber, have been part of the Pacific bomber force in a decade.
The bombers are from the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, which dropped more than 2,000 “smart bombs” during more than 630 missions over Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Guam is a US-controlled island in the western Pacific, some 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) east of the Philippines, and about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) from the Korean Peninsula.
“Bombers in general are well-suited to the vast distances and challenges of the Pacific. The B-1 bomber is specifically suited for the Pacific region,” Lt. Col. Seth Spanier, commander of the B-1 squadron on Guam, said.
“With a large weapon capacity and exceptional standoff strike capability, the B-1 will provide US Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform,” the statement said.
The US use of Guam-based bombers over the the Korean Peninsula is not new.
After North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January, a Guam-based B-52 made the flight.
And in February, after a North Korean rocket sent a satellite into space, the US Air Force flew four of its top-of-the-line F-22 Raptors over South Korea in a show of force.
The stealthy F-22s were joined by South Korean F-15s and US Air Force F-16s in that display at Osan AB.
( Source )