US Sends B-52 Bomber Over S. China Sea as China Steps Up Naval Drills

A B-52 Exercises Dynamic Force Employment with Joint Partners in Indo-Pacific

(Source: US Pacific Air Forces; issued July 05, 2020)

US Navy aircraft and a B-52 bomber fly together over the South China Sea to demonstrate US military reach in the region. Two US Navy carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan are also exercising in the area. (US Navy photo)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii --- One B-52 Stratofortress bomber from the 96th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, took off from home station and participated in a maritime integration exercise with the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups in the South China Sea before landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The B-52 flew the 28-hour mission to demonstrate U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

This was part of a bomber task force dynamic force employment used by U.S. Strategic Command to conduct training with and in support of Geographic Combatant Commands efforts to help maintain global stability and security. This type of missions support the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability.

“Bomber Task Force demonstrates U.S. capability to rapidly deploy to a forward operating base and execute long-range strike missions,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Duff, 96th Bomb Squadron commander. “This sortie demonstrates our ability to reach out from home station, fly anywhere in the world and execute those missions, rapidly regenerate from a forward operating base and continue operations.”

During the mission, the B-52 aircrew tested and assessed command and control capabilities to inform the development of contested and degraded communication tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure seamless joint interoperability.

"As we operate throughout the Indo-Pacific theater, our Fleet units continue to seek out every opportunity to strengthen our capabilities and proficiency at conducting joint, combined, all-domain operations with our partner teams,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Joshua Fagan, Task Force 70 Air Operations officer. “Some of the recent events bringing Air Force B-52s and B-1s, Navy aircraft, and our ships at sea together on shared networks in support of integrated missions have been good opportunities for us to exercise the joint mission planning and coordination processes that we depend on to operate safely and effectively out here."

U.S. Strategic Command’s bomber forces regularly conduct combined theater security cooperation engagements with allies and partners, demonstrating U.S. capability to command, control and conduct bomber missions around the world.


China Holds Simultaneous Drills in Three Asia Seas (excerpt)

(Source: Nikkei Asia Review; published July 06, 2020)

By Tsukasa Hadano

BEIJING --- China conducted military exercises in the South and East China seas as well as in the Yellow Sea last week, flexing its muscles amid growing tensions with the U.S.

State-run media touted the unusual simultaneous exercises in what it called the "three major battle zones." Speculation suggests that the large-scale drills were intended not only to send a strong message to the outside world, but also to distract from concerns at home.

A missile destroyer and two helicopters practiced capturing unrecognized vessels in the East China Sea, state broadcaster China Central Television reported. The drill is thought to have been tailored for the waters near Taiwan and the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu.

The People's Liberation Army also conducted live-fire exercises in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. Civilian ships were banned from sailing near the Paracel Islands in the latter waters from Wednesday to Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is conducting large-scale exercises in the South China Sea involving the two aircraft carrier strike groups of the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan. A B-52 bomber was sent from the American mainland to take part in the exercise as well. It is rare for both China and the U.S. to conduct military exercises in the same area, highlighting growing tensions in the waters. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Nikkei website.


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