Rear admiral: U.S. B-1 strategic bomber in South China Sea no worry

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-08-12 16:24

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (ChinaMil) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard set out for combat patrol in the West Pacific recently and multiple B-1 strategic bombers were deployed in Guam.

Yin Zhuo, director of the Expert Consultation Committee of the Chinese PLA Navy, said in an interview with CCTV's Asia Today that the U.S. is just maintaining military pressure on China and its strategic bomber is not China's biggest concern as a combat approach.

CCTV reported that according to the U.S. Navy, the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard set out from its home port Sasebo in west Japan's Nagasaki on August 6, local time for a combat patrol in the west Pacific.

It is reported that the USS Bonhomme had a four-month-long maintenance and upgrade at the Sasebo U.S. Naval Base and sailed southward from Sasebo all the way to East China Sea, but the U.S. Navy didn't reveal its destination.

The amphibious ship USS Boxer already arrived in Singapore after finishing its combat mission in the Middle East and entered the South China Sea shortly afterwards. USS Bonhomme and USS Boxer are both Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the U.S. Navy with the displacement of up to 40,000 tons, and they don't look much different from aircraft carrier because of the full-length flight deck.

However, the dispatch of the two amphibious ships means that the U.S. deployed quasi-aircraft carriers above 10,000-ton class around China in the south and north direction at the same time.

Besides, the LA Class Nuclear Submarine USS Greeneville and Aegis Destroyer USS Momsen berthed at the Philippines' Subic Bay successively on August 5 and 8. Does that mean the U.S. took active military operations around China again?

According to Yin Zhuo, what the U.S. did actually reflected its military weaknesses.

Its two aircraft carriers had to pull out of the South China Sea because of excessive cost and are now replaced by amphibious ships to deter China in the East China Sea and South China Sea. That doesn't mean the U.S. has adjusted its China policy in any way. It's just maintaining military pressure on China, Yin added.

The U.S. Pacific Command confirmed on August 8, local time that multiple B-1 strategic bombers arrived at the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on August 6. It didn't say how many B-1 strategic bombers were deployed, only that they came from the State of South Dakota along with about 300 American soldiers.

The U.S. military last deployed B-1 in Guam in 2006. Since then B-2 and B-52 were the main strategic deterrence there. The B-1 bombers deployed this time are to replace a batch of B-52. CNN reported that B-1 bombers deployed in Guam will be able to fly directly to the South China Sea. More importantly, B-1B boasts better penetration capability than long-distance bomber B-52 at very low altitude.

Yin Zhuo said there is a way to counter B-1's entry into the South China Sea.

As a supersonic strategic bomber, its stealth performance isn't very good and the engine has conspicuous infrared features, so B-1 can only be used after the U.S. has secured the command of the air, before that, it dares not deploy large bombers like B-1 and B-52 to the battlefield.

The US can send B-1 to patrol and fly over the South China Sea in peacetime to flex muscles, but once a war broke out, B-2 instead of B-1 would be the first choice of weapon. In sum, U.S. strategic bomber isn't China's biggest concern as a combat approach.

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