Less than half of the US bomber fleet is ready to ‘fight tonight’

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer prepares to take off for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON – Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.

That’s not a surprise to the bomb squadrons who have seen firsthand the combined effects of aircraft age, the demand of 15 years of air war operations and reduced budgets. But the numbers can be stark. Of the nation’s 75 conventional and nuclear B-52s, only about 33 are ready to fly at any given time, according to Air Force statistics. Of the 62 conventional B-1s, only about 25 are ready. With the 20 nuclear B-2 stealth bombers, the number drops further. Seven or eight bombers are available, according to the Air Force.

On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace.

“If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.

“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”

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China Warns Japan: “Get Used To Our Warplanes”, Sends Spy Ship Near Alaska

 

In an unexpectedly brazen rattling of sabers, just days after China deployed troops to its first foreign base in Djibouti, a move which the Global Times clarified is “about protecting its own security, not about seeking to control the world, Beijing made a less than subtle reversal, when it told Japan on Friday to “get used to it” after it flew six warplanes over the Miyako Strait between two southern Japanese islands in a military exercise.

It all started late on Thursday night, when Japan’s defense ministry issued a token statement describing the flyover by the formation of Xian H-6 bombers, also known as China’s B-52, earlier that day as “unusual”, while noting that there had been no violation of Japanese airspace. Continue reading

Caught On Video: Russian, NATO Jets In Near Standoff After F-16 Buzzes Defense Minister’s Airplane

 

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.

In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area. Continue reading

S. Korea’s nuclear armament could undermine US influence in Asia: report

Regardless of whether or not South Korea attains nuclear weapons, it will be eventually integrated into a new Asian bloc against the United States. That’s the direction Asia is moving as allies become increasingly skeptical of the U.S. as a reliable partner.

 

Should South Korea seek to go nuclear, the country could face such negative consequences as reduced international standing in the campaign to denuclearize North Korea, the possible imposition of economic sanctions and potentially encouraging Japan to develop nuclear weapons capability, the CRS report said.

“For the United States, encouraging South Korea to develop nuclear weapons could mean diminished U.S. influence in Asia, the unraveling of the U.S. alliance system and the possibility of creating a destabilizing nuclear arms race in Asia,” the report said. Continue reading

CHINA SECURITY: In Disputed Waters, China Is The Thief Who Yells ‘Stop Thief’

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An island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. The Chinese regime is accusing the United States of “hegemony” for challenging its land-grab in the South China Sea. (Cliff Owen/AP)

 

The U.S. Navy sent a destroyer on a “freedom of navigation” mission through the Paracel island chain in the South China Sea, and the Chinese regime claims it will toughen its response to similar missions in the future.

On Jan. 30, the USS Curtis Wilbur passed within 12 nautical miles of the less than one-square mile Triton Island, which is claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

What’s ironic is that the Chinese regime is calling the incident an act to establish U.S. hegemony, when in fact it was to counter Chinese hegemony already being claimed over the entire region.

China’s response plays perfectly into the ancient Chinese saying: “It’s the thief who yells ‘stop thief.’” Continue reading

U.S. flies B-52 over S. Korea after North’s nuclear test

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A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 10. (AP Photo)

 

SEOUL–The United States deployed a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight over its ally South Korea on Jan. 10, in a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test last week.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un maintained that the test on Jan. 6 was of a hydrogen bomb and said it was a self-defense step against a U.S. threat of nuclear war.

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test angered both China, its main ally, and the United States, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt the North’s claim that the device was a hydrogen bomb.

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1st large-scale exercise set in military air training area

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Fighter jet training is planned for Wednesday and Thursday. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photo)

 

BISMARCK, N.D. — Military airplanes are taking to the skies this week for the first large-scale exercise in a training area over the Northern Plains.

The exercise in the 35,000-square-mile Powder River Training Complex is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Bombers, fighter jets and refueling tankers will be practicing maneuvers in the airspace over the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Continue reading

America’s next superbomber to be shrouded in secret for years

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Almost every aspect of America’s newest bomber is top secret, but experts predict the warplane will be very “stealthy,” packed with sensors — and able to deliver nuclear payloads anywhere.

The Pentagon this week announced Northrop Grumman as the winner of the much-anticipated contest to build the Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRSB, in a decades-long program that will likely end up costing in excess of $100 billion.

The Air Force wants 100 of the warplanes, which will replace America’s increasingly antique B-52s — originally designed in the 1950s — and its B-1 bombers that first saw action in the 1980s. Continue reading

Air Force Flight Tests Nuclear ICBM

The Minuteman III came into service in 1970. The last nuclear weapon deployed was roughly in the early 90’s and most of America’s deterrent on land still runs on floppy-disc technology. Meanwhile, Russia and China are significantly modernizing their nuclear forces while increasing them in number.

 

Minuteman III warhead hits 4,200 miles away in Pacific

The U.S. military carried out a flight test of a nuclear-capable Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday, the Air Force Strike Command said in a statement.

The missile was launched from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and its inert warhead flew 4,200 miles to an impact zone near Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands. Continue reading

US Air Force Will Soon Unveil Next Super Bomber to Replace Cold War Machines

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Washington:  The US Air Force is getting ready to announce the winner of a multibillion-dollar contract to build a new generation of long-distance bombers that will replace aging, Cold War machines.

Dubbed the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) program, the Air Force will in the coming weeks award the mega-contract to either Northrop Grumman or a team made up of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The program envisions the creation of between 80 and 100 strategic bombers to replace America’s fleet of B-52s and B-1s. Almost everything about it is classified, save for the cost of each plane, which was set at $550 million per unit in 2010 dollars. Continue reading

China’s Newest Long-Range Heavy Bomber Should Unnerve US

And now it becomes even more clear why the CCP will continue its push to solidify the Asia-Pacific with artificial islands.

The ADIZ is the minimum requirement to be able to destroy strategic U.S. defenses on the periphery, enabling further airstrikes an exposed American mainland.

PLAN nuclear submarines will have already been on the American coastline hitting high priority targets (anti-aircraft defenses, nuclear deterrent, etc…) within minutes from California to Mississippi (or further), laying the groundwork for airstrikes on American soil.

 

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China is in the process of updating its fleet of long-range heavy bombers and its newest H-6K should make the United States nervous, military expert David Axe argues.

The H-6K boasting nuclear strike capabilities made its maiden flight in 2007 and entered service with the People’s Liberation Army some two years later. At least two regiments of the Chinese Air Force are believed to be operating the H-6Ks at the moment.

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US Air Force’s Australia bomber run a message: US official

With the support of Royal Australian Air Force ground forces, the two B-52s flew directly to Delamere bombing range in northern Australia to conduct a bombing run. After unloading their conventional bombs on the range, the two craft headed back to Barksdale Air Force Base in the US. It took 44 hours for the US Air Force to complete its “bomber assurance and deterrence” on July 1, according to Gertz. Continue reading

North Dakota nuclear missile base struggles to recover from scandals

It’s a little difficult to say which is more alarming: The chronic degredation in general of the U.S. strategic nuclear forces or the fact that the ‘latest’ missles at Minot were built and designed in the 1960’s.

 

A bitter wind relentlessly whips across acres of frozen prairie at this remote base, where hundreds of airmen and women stay on alert around the clock to do the unthinkable: launch a nuclear attack.

This is the only installation in the nation that hosts both intercontinental ballistic missiles and B-52 bombers, two legs of the so-called nuclear triad with submarines. Yet it has been besieged by scandals and mishaps that have marred its historic role.

In August 2007, crews at Minot mistakenly loaded six cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads onto a B-52 heavy bomber that flew to another base in Louisiana. The warheads were not properly guarded for 36 hours before anyone realized they were missing. Partly as a result, the secretary of the Air Force was forced to resign.

In the last two years, two commanders have been dismissed at Minot and one reprimanded after Pentagon brass lost confidence in their ability to lead. In addition, 19 officers were stripped of their authority to control and launch the nuclear-tipped missiles that sit in silos, and did not get it back until they completed additional training.

Now the vast base, close to the Canadian border, is struggling to recover. Continue reading

Russian Bombers Threaten Guam

Four Russian strategic bombers circled the U.S. island of Guam last week in what U.S. defense officials say is the latest in a series of nuclear provocations by Moscow.

The bombers, flying in pairs, were identified by air defenses as Tu-95 Bear H nuclear-capable aircraft that circumnavigated the strategic U.S. military outpost on Friday—amid heightened tensions with Moscow regarding a new buildup of Russian forces in and along the border of eastern Ukraine.

A Pacific Command spokesman had no immediate comment. Two defense officials confirmed the incident. It could not be learned if U.S. jets intercepted the bombers.

Friday’s flights were the second time in the past two years that Russia conducted unusual long-range bomber missions around the island. Two Tu-95s circled the island on Feb. 12, 2013 and were intercepted by F-15 jets. Continue reading

U.S. to Conduct Strategic Bomber Exercise

Nuclear drills follow ‘massive’ Russian war games last week

The U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of waging nuclear war, will hold large-scale bomber exercises this week—days after Russia held what Moscow called “massive” war games simulating a U.S. and NATO nuclear attack.

Ten U.S. B-52 bombers and up to six B-2 strategic bombers will take part in the war games called “Global Lightning 14” from Monday through May 16, the command said in a statement late Sunday. Continue reading