B-2s deploy to Pacific
Three B-2s deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, on 8th March. U.S. Strategic Command said the aircraft would "integrate and conduct training with ally and partner air forces," and do a radio communications check with a US air operations center during the deployment.
The deployment comes at a time of increased tension in the region, following North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile tests in January and February and continuing friction with the Chinese in the South China Sea.
B-2s last flew to the Asia-Pacific region in August when they deployed to Guam to bolster ally South Korea. The latest deployment puts the bombers in proximity to the Korean peninsula, where more than 15,000 U.S. and 300,000 South Korean troops have kicked off simultaneous joint military drills — Key Resolve and Foal Eagle. The exercises are the largest since 2010.
Since last year, the USAF has been seeking to bolster its permanent presence on Guam in an effort to improve its continuous bomber presence mission. Bombers — mostly B-52s —have been rotating to Guam since 2004 as part of USAF’s strategic deterrence mission.
Three B-2s and some 200 airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, deployed to Andersen in 2014. Prior to that, the last extended B-2 deployment to Guam took place in 2012.