U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers arrived from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to support a Pacific Air Forces Bomber Task Force deployment, here July 10. The bomber aircraft deployed as part of a rotational Bomber Task Force, supporting the Enhanced Cooperation Initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the United States and Australia. The Airmen will employ the B-2 to conduct training missions and strategic deterrence missions with allies, partners and joint forces in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The Northrop (later Northrop Grumman) B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses. Designed during the Cold War, it is a flying wing design with a crew of two. The bomber is subsonic and can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as up to eighty 500-pound class (230 kg) Mk 82 JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400-pound (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.
“This deployment of the B-2 to Australia demonstrates and enhances the readiness and lethality of our long-range penetrating strike force,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. “We look forward to training and enhancing our interoperability with our RAAF teammates, as well as partners and allies across the Indo-Pacific as we meet PACAF objectives.”
U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts Bomber Task Force operations across the globe as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective defense and to integrate with Geographic Combatant Command operations and activities. The last time the B-2s deployed to the INDOPACOM area of responsibility as part of a BTF was in August 2020. This deployment is in line with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability. The BTF enables different types of strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broad array of overseas and Continental U.S. locations with greater operational resilience.