Two B-1B Bombers Hold Live-Fire Drills Over Korean Peninsula, Show Off US "Attack Capabilities"

The US sent two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers from Guam's Andersen Air Force Base base to the Korean Peninsula, to practice “attack capabilities” with South Korean jet fighters and hold live-fire drills on Saturday, Yonhap News reported, the latest show of force by the US military after North Korea’s first-ever ICBM test launch on July 4. The pair of US bombers flew conducted a simulated destruction of an enemy ballistic missile launcher and underground facilities, the South's air force said, sending a strong hint to its northern neighbor.

The joint exercise included US F-16 fighters jets as well as fighter planes from the South Korean and Japanese air forces, and came a day after Trump said in Warsaw on Thursday that he was considering “some pretty severe things” in response to North Korea’s latest actions

Friday’s flyover followed a joint missile-defense drill by the US and South Korean armies on Korea’s east coast Wednesday, and as the US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement late on Friday, the 10-hour flight drill was conducted “in response to a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea."

The US message was clear enough: "North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, said in a statement. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces."

Some more details on the drill from the WSJ and Reuters: during the drill, two B-1B bombers flew from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to the Korean Peninsula where the bombers conducted the live-fire exercise at a range in South Korea's eastern Gangwon province, dropping weapons in a simulated attack on a missile launcher. They were joined by South Korean and U.S. F-16 jet fighters during the mission: South Korean and U.S. fighter jets conducted precision strike drills aimed at attacking enemy targets hidden underground.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the bombers then flew west, hugging the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border between the two Koreas, before leaving South Korean airspace. The B-1Bs then flew with Japanese F-2 jet fighters over the East China Sea before returning to Guam.

This was not the first time the US sent a very clear message to te Kim regime: the Pentagon has been making shows of force in recent months in response to perceived increases in tension on the Korean Peninsula. Twice in May, the U.S. sent B-1B bombers on flyovers near the Korean Peninsula. Each came shortly after a North Korean missile test. So far these have proben to not be very effective at deterring North Korea.

Also in April, the US said it was sending the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the western Pacific to underscore Washington’s commitment to the region. In that case, the announcement instead raised questions about U.S. credibility after it came to light that the aircraft carrier was thousands of miles away. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters in an impromptu briefing at the Pentagon that “we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts” although he said the launch was a “very serious escalation” and warned the North that any effort to start a war “would lead to severe consequences.”

Confirming that the US military is just waiting for a green light, in its statement following Friday’s air force exercise, the U.S. said that it “maintains flexible bomber and jet fighter capabilities” in the region and could “quickly respond to any regional threat.”

The U.S. bombers and South Korean fighters “are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of the U.S. military in South Korea. “This mission clearly demonstrates the U.S.-ROK alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region,” Lt. Gen. Bergeson added, using the acronym for South Korea’s formal name, the Republic of Korea.

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Separately Reuters reports that in a move that is sure to anger China and Russia, the US also plans to carry out "a new test of its THAAD missile defense system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile in the coming days" as tensions with North Korea climb.

The test, which was reportedly planned months ago, will be the first of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to defend against a simulated attack by an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), one of the officials said. The THAAD interceptors will be fired from Alaska. The United States has THAAD interceptors in Guam that are meant to help guard against a missile attack from a country such as North Korea.

Asked by Reuters, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) confirmed that it aimed to carry out a THAAD flight test "in early July." Chris Johnson, an MDA spokesman, said the THAAD weapon system at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, would "detect, track and engage a target with a THAAD interceptor."

Earlier this month Moscow and Beijing, in a joint statement, called on Washington to immediately halt deployment of THAAD in South Korea. The statement, not incorrectly, said Washington was using North Korea as a pretext to expand its military infrastructure in Asia and risked upsetting the strategic balance of power in the region.

Meanwhile, in North Korea, KCNA news gency reported that Kim Jong Un visited a mausoleum honouring state founder Kim Il Sun on Saturday, the anniversary of his grandfather's death. He was joined by military officials who contributed to the success of the ICBM test, the news agency said. It was unclear if he was planning any further ICBM launches in the immediate future.


Manthong macholatte Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:44 Permalink

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  Just in case nobody in Washington has figured it out yet, it will be a lot more painful to trying to “own the sky” over North Korea than it was over Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc. so that they can use those things.

In reply to by macholatte

Jubal Early (not verified) skbull44 Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:34 Permalink

These drills ever since the armistice in 1953 caused the situation.This is not a chicken/egg situation where the US retaliates with multiple nuclear tipped criuse missle armed B1-B's simulating a first strike in retaliation to one missle test in the ocean off the coast.  NK's ICBM tests are irrelevant compared to this ZOG aggression.The US has been invading Korea since 1871.  Sure, they called it an expedition in the same way Lynch told Comey to call it a "matter".

In reply to by skbull44

mary mary tuetenueggel Sat, 07/08/2017 - 16:35 Permalink

Who thinks the psychopaths who run Washington actually live in Washington?  Washington is just where they position their swarms of vulture mosquito "intelligentsia".  If Washington collapses, they will just send out invitations to bid to everyone else.  Heck, they could run their game of "Risk" out of Mexico City or Tel Aviv or anywhere.

In reply to by tuetenueggel

bshirley1968 MarkD Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:41 Permalink

As he should, since he wanted the job so badly.....are you insinuatiing he didn't know the shit storm he was getting into?  Are you saying the the "Grand Master 4D Chess Player" didn't see that shit coming?Pivot:  What has he done in the last year to improve the situation?  Has he taken any steps to slow down the melt down?  Has he taken any DRASTIC measure for such perilous times?  No, he has not.  Therefore, he deserves what he gets.  And because you candy ass Trump worshippers would rather worship  that dumbass than be true to your fellow countrymen, you become complicit in the mayhem.  You should be holding him accountable and telling him to get his ass to work rather than cheering his childish bullshit with the media.To this date, the man has been a flop.We are in PERILOUS times, people!  We need a real leader and not a reality TV show.

In reply to by MarkD

Vimes bshirley1968 Sat, 07/08/2017 - 17:14 Permalink

He is a politician, why would he be different from all the others? What I don't understand is that people still fall for this type of theatre. The politicians hold a position for four years and only influence the direction the country is going in. Absolute power they don't have, it lies in the hands of the civil servants.

In reply to by bshirley1968

man from glad MarkD Sat, 07/08/2017 - 11:29 Permalink

Or save it. Wars have been used to mask or save collapsing economies. It all depends on the timeframe. I really do believe Trump is going to strike NK. But he will at least go the UN route and make a "show of peace". But we all know how that will end (a big nothing). So I'm thinking 2018 is the year it happens. Before 1st term ends and before campaign season starts.

In reply to by MarkD

johand inmywallet Winston Churchill Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:09 Permalink

Yeah, so? Putin lights up a 400 at our B-1's or other assets and Russian naval base will cease to exist. The gloves come off. If Putin and China do not want American troops on their border, they should think real hard about doing something to remove fat boy and his minions in Pyongyang. Yes, Trump is going to do what should have been done at least 8-10-15 years ago. If we let the fat chimp continue to rock the boat, Iran is going to be the next thorn up our ass and we don't want to take them on at the same time. NK is going to be a handful, don't need the 2 going full retard at the same time.

In reply to by Winston Churchill

The Ram johand inmywallet Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:22 Permalink

America does not have enough troops to fight a war on the Korean mainland, especially if China and Russian troops become involved.  I am sure that the South Koreans do not want to head north into the mountain terrain to get their troops slaughtered fighting against their own race.  In short, there are few realistic options here without causing massive issues and millions of refugees.  The first Korean war was a disaster for America.  Without a draft, the US cannot get into a meat grinder of a war.  Good luck drafting millenials to die in the hills of Korea.  Trump needs to think clearly here or perhaps the entire 'war to be' is meant to be to cover for the coming financial collapse. Clearly, we hope someone in Washington thinks with a clear head.  That's difficult in the DC!

In reply to by johand inmywallet

Mustafa Kemal johand inmywallet Sat, 07/08/2017 - 13:28 Permalink

"Iran is going to be the next thorn up our ass and we don't want to take them on at the same time"spoken like a true neocon.  Since the end of the cold war US has needed bogeymen NK and Iran.  If these are thorns, they are thorns in the Rothschilds bank, but they have no threat to US. Certainly, deep state will not so easily give up on bogeyman Iran, just like they reversed rapproachment with Cuba. We need lots of bad guys. Oooooh, those communists treat their people so badly. Need regime change!

In reply to by johand inmywallet

GUS100CORRINA Sat, 07/08/2017 - 09:53 Permalink

Two B-1B Bombers Hold Live-Fire Drills Over Korean Peninsula, Show Off US "Attack Capabilities"My response: CHINA, RUSSIA and USA have a decision to make regarding NK. The days ahead should be interesting which would include any side conversations at the G-20."The U.S. bombers and South Korean fighters “are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of the U.S. military in South Korea."I want to SUGGEST any military option must be a last resort. JAPAN and SK will most likely have the final word. 

Sinophile Sat, 07/08/2017 - 09:55 Permalink

It was not an ICBM.  Quit telling lies.  It was a mid-range, solid fuel, two-stage bottle rocket piece of shit.  All these 'war drills' by the US are nothing more than ways for the MIC to dump old ordinance and order fresh, expensive ordinance.  Get real, everyone.

miketv Sat, 07/08/2017 - 09:58 Permalink

I wonder if people actually believe NK are a threat for improving their defense against the criminal run west.. the propaganda is ridiculous.