Four B-2A stealth bombers have deployed to RAAF Base Amberley, Australia in the last couple of days.
The largest deployment of U.S. Air Force B-2A in recent times is currently underway in Australia where two pairs of Spirit aircraft have landed on Jul. 10 and 12, 2022. Supported on their way by several KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, the U.S. Air Force stealth bombers belonging to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, have landed at RAAF Base Amberley to support a Pacific Air Forces Bomber Task Force (BTF) deployment.
According to a Pacific Air Forces press release, the rotational Bomber Task Force operates in support of the Enhanced Cooperation Initiative under the Force Posture Agreement between the United States and Australia. In such context, the B-2s will conduct training missions and strategic deterrence missions with allies, partners and joint forces in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Noteworthy, the last time the B-2s deployed to the INDOPACOM area of responsibility as part of a BTF was in August 2020.
“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 in the press release. “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.”
Bomber Task Force operations are carried out almost routinely by U.S. Strategic Command across the globe “as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective defense and to integrate with Geographic Combatant Command operations and activities.” Indeed, it is quite likely the aircraft will launch extended deterrence mission towards China and the Korean peninsula from Australia.
“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.”
As already mentioned, this deployment is remarkable since it involves four stealth bombers (valuable assets that, normally, deploy in smaller numbers, usually 2 or 3 airframes at a time) and because the last time the B-2s deployed to the INDOPACOM area of responsibility as part of a BTF was little less than 2 years ago, in August 2020.