Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers and approximately 200 airmen arrived at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam Monday.
The aircraft and airmen, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, deployed to Guam in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s bomber assurance and deterrence mission, according to Pacific Air Forces.
During this “short-term deployment,” the B-2s will conduct local and regional training sorties. They will also work with “key regional partners, ensuring bomber crews maintain a high state of readiness and crew proficiency.”
The nuclear-capable stealth bombers join several B-1B Lancer conventional bombers at Andersen Air Force Base. PACOM has said the Lancers are “ready to fulfill [U.S. Forces Korea’s] Fight Tonight mission if called upon to do so.”
The B-1Bs have flown over the Korean Peninsula for drills with U.S. and Korean forces over the past few months as tensions remain high between the United States and North Korea due to the North‘s determination to continue developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
In a meeting with South Korean officials Jan. 9, North Korea agreed to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month, a breakthrough after months of hostilities. But after the meeting, Ri Son-kwon, who led the North Korean delegation, criticized South Korean reporters for saying the talks including discussion of de-nuclearization.
“All our cutting-edge weapons, including our hydrogen bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles, are not targeting our Korean brothers, China or Russia but the United States,” Ri said, according to pool reports. “If we begin talking about these issues, then today’s good results might be reduced to nothing.”
A lone B-2 Spirit flew to Guam from Whiteman in October for a short-term mission. The stealth bombers also deployed to Guam in August 2016 as part of an historic integrated bomber operation with B-1B Lancers and a B-52 Stratofortress.