With the signs of North Korea’s imminent nuclear test detected on the radar one after another, the United States is poised to make a forward stationing of its B-1B bombers in Guam within the next several weeks. According to multiple sources of flight tracking websites, the U.S. Air Force will remove three or four B-1B bombers from the Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to Guam. “There is a high probability that the B-1B bombers will stay ready in Guam before being instantly deployed to the Korean Peninsula in the event the North should conduct a nuclear test,” said a military source.
Dubbed the “Swan of Death,” the B-1B is a military aircraft heavily loaded with guided weapons with the capability to launch precision strikes on missiles and nuclear bases and the command center from hundreds of miles away. During the North’s nuclear and missiles provocations in 2017, the U.S. bombers flew across the NLL in the West Sea, flying all the way up to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site to make an armed protest. After the brief détente between the two Koreas in late 2017, the B-1B bombers have not been deployed to the Korean Peninsula, not showing up for ROK-US joint military drills. With President Yoon Suk-yeol declaring an extended deterrence against North Korea during the Seoul-Washington summit meeting on May 21, pundits are closely monitoring if the B-1B bombers will return to the peninsula in five years to play a check-and-balance role against the North.
Washington is mobilizing all reconnaissance resources available to monitor Pyongyang. On Monday, the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or Joint STARS, was reportedly to have departed from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, to fly down the East Sea. The surveillance aircraft is known to be capable of thoroughly detecting the movements of TELs and soldiers from 250 kilometers away. It appears that Joint STARS is tracking the signs of nuclear and missiles provocations in Punggye-ri test site and elsewhere.
“We are closely following and monitoring the facilities and areas concerned under a steadfast coordination between Seoul and Washington,” said a South Korean military official when asked about the possibility of the North conducting a nuclear test on the U.S. Memorial Day.
Sang-Ho Yun email@example.com