Veterans change their registration: the legendary US Air Force B-52s move to Australia

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Veterans change their registration: the legendary US Air Force B-52s move to Australia
Veterans change their registration: the legendary US Air Force B-52s move to Australia
9 November, 16:27ArmyPhoto: Соцсети
At Tyndal, the Royal Australian Air Force base, large-scale work began on the modernization of the airfield and the entire infrastructure to serve six American strategic bombers B-52H Stratofortress (“Stratospheric Fortress”) capable of carrying nuclear weapons

Alexander Sychev

It is intended to place them here on a permanent basis. In fact, Washington was thinking of deploying a new generation of B-21 bombers on Tyndall. But the date of the first flight of the American strategist was repeatedly postponed - only for the upcoming December, the first roll-out of the aircraft from the hangar is planned. The transfer of the bomber to the US Air Force is expected only by the end of this decade.

And time, according to American strategists, is no longer waiting. The emergence of new ballistic and especially hypersonic missiles in Russia, China and North Korea has made the American air bases on Okinawa (Japan) and even more remote on Guam (USA), which are used by American strategic aviation, very vulnerable.

With the deployment of bombers in the Northern Territory of Australia, 320 kilometers southeast of the city of Darwin, the flight time compared to Okinawa and Guam will approximately double. The United States has a time lag to respond in the event of an escalation of any conflict. Once in a safer location, the bombers would still maintain their presence in the Pacific and could continue to target China and North Korea, as well as targets in the Russian Far East.

The Australian air base has long been seen as a potential center for projecting American power into the Pacific. Built by the Americans back in 1942 to house heavy bombers B-24 Liberator (“Liberator”), it was supposed to serve to strike Japanese targets in Papua New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. But until the end of the Second World War, American planes did not appear there. Japan managed to break even without this air base.

American interest in Tyndall, used by the Australian Air Force, revived in 2012. Then several thousand soldiers of the US Marine Corps were transferred to the base. From here it is closer to the countries of Southeast Asia, which increases the efficiency of using the Marines to carry out Washington's policy in the region.

According to the details of the construction project leaked to the media, the base will not only increase the length and quality of the runways and create a parking lot for six bombers, but also build aircraft control and maintenance centers, increase the capacity of fuel storage tanks, build protected caponiers for storing ammunition, it is possible that nuclear ones.

Although the B-52 is the oldest (nearly 70 year old project) of the three classes of bombers currently in US service, even in its advanced age it has proven to be the least problematic and most reliable to be based in Australia.

The option to accommodate the younger B-1B and B-2 bombers was rejected almost immediately, although they were driven to Australia and back. Both aircraft generally showed a very low readiness to perform emerging tasks: they require expensive and very complex maintenance, as a result, they spend little time in the air.

Of course, the radar stealth of the B-2 allows it to use bombs in addition to long-range missiles, which is very valuable for hitting hardened targets. But the "invisibility" technologies used on it are already outdated and do not provide the necessary level of security.

These visual deficiencies have already sentenced both bombers to write-off in the early 2030s. They should be replaced by the B-21 Raider ("Raider"). According to representatives of the company Northrop Grumman, engaged in the creation of the bomber, it will have a very long range, a significant bomb load, radar and thermal stealth. It will be able to carry both conventional ammunition, such as the corrected Joint Directed Attack Munition (JDAM) or AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) missiles, as well as B83 and B61-12 thermonuclear bombs.

According to current plans, the US Air Force is ready to buy at least 149 bombers, which will retire the B-1B and B-2, but not the B-52. It was decided to modernize the classics once again and extend their service to a hundred years. Nowadays, the Stratospheric Fortress is changing engines for new, more economical ones.

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