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B-1B bomber launches a cruise missile externally

Posted December. 11, 2020 07:38,   

Updated December. 11, 2020 07:38


The United States Strategic Command announced Wednesday (local time) that the B-1B Lancer, a strategic bomber dubbed the “swan of death,” has successfully launched a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). The U.S. Strategic Command is a military command in charge of controlling the country’s nuclear and strategic weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

This is the first time that the bomber has demonstrated such a capability since it was seen flying with JASSM on external pylon late November. The test appears to be part of the U.S. Air Force’s plan to boost the combat punch of the B-1B bomber in the face of nuclear threats from North Korea and emerging challenges from the Chinese military. Washington has been mounting a series of military pressures since Joe Biden was elected in November by conducing tests on its core strategic weapons, including strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets and deploying major military assets in Asia.

The JASSM is a cruise missile capable of flying at 0.8 sonic speed and striking ground targets within the margin of a few meters. The JASSM-ER, an improved version, can travel over a whopping 1,000 kilometers. Launched in the skies of the East China Sea, the missile can reach Pyongyang and the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon. This means it can strike the missiles and radar commands in the South China Sea from outside the range of China’s ground-to-air missiles.

The U.S. is planning to crank up JASSM’s maximum range to 1,600 kilometers. “Enhancing the combat capacity of the B-1B bombers will help alleviate risks in military operations an provide more weapons for regional commanders,” the U.S. Strategic Command added.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com