LOCKED AND LOADED Massive US nuclear bombers deployed in Europe for training in impressive show of force against China and Russia
AMERICA’S strategic nuclear bomber squadrons have been in the sky over the Indo-Pacific region and Europe — to show they are ready to strike despite the coronavirus pandemic.
In a massive show of strength, the US Air Force has flown all three types of its bomber aircraft on long-range missions over the past week.
The US Air Force has flown all three types of its bomber aircraft on long-range missions to Europe in a show of strength amid the coronavirus pandemic
One of two B-52H Stratofortresses which flew from North Dakota on a mission to Europe
The US put on a show of strength with the long-distance flights
The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the B-52H Stratofortress and the B-1B Lancer are all capable of carrying nuclear tipped bombs and cruise missiles.
USAF in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander General Jeffrey L. Harrigan said: “The health of our team has been a top priority from the start of our Covid response and is key to sustaining missions like the bomber task force.
“Although mitigation efforts created challenges to overcome, our allies, partners and adversaries should make no mistake that we are ready, able and willing to deter and defend when called upon.”
The war games are a clear signal to Russia but especially China which has been using the coronavirus crisis to assert control of the vital South China Sea and flex its military muscles.
The US this week sent two warships – the USS Montgomery and the USNS Cesar Chavez – to the hotspot as part of a “presence operation”.
The move came in response to reports Chinese ships were harassing Panamanian-flagged vessel West Capella, which was drilling for oil in an area claimed by Malaysia.
It was the second time in a month US warships had to be deployed to deter alleged Chinese harassment of neighbouring countries.
It also comes amid reports that some in Beijing are clamouring to invade Taiwan which it claims as its own.
A B-1B Lancer from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, flies with a Polish F-16 and two Polish MiG-29s in the Baltic
A B-1B Lancer flies with a Danish F-16 during a training mission for Bomber Task Force Europe
The B-1B Lancer was able to make the near 10,000 mile round-trip without landing after it was refuelled by a KC-135 Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall in the UK
A maintainer assigned to 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepares a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber for takeoff in support of US Strategic Command at Whiteman Air Force Base
The US is boosting its air power around the world after the navy faced weeks of bad headlines after the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier coronavirus debacle.
The ship has been tied up in Guam since March 27 after more than a thousand crew members tested positive for Covid-19 following a port visit in Vietnam.
Several other US aircraft carriers are out of action or far from the Pacific.
China’s 35th fleet leaves port at Zhoushan, eastern China, last monthCredit: Rex Features
Special forces soldiers wave farewell on the deck in Zhoushan last monthCredit: Rex Features
An airstrip and buildings on China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly islandsCredit: AP:Associated Press
Chinese sailors march in Hong Kong, China (file image)Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The USS Montgomery conducts routine operations in the South China Sea, May 7Credit: U.S. Navy
An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet prepares to land on the USS America in the South China Sea last monthCredit: Reuters