Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Lancers West

We are sending B-1 bombers to Guam. While the article notes land-attack capabilities in regard to North Korea, I'm more interested in naval strike capabilities.

We need long-range strike aircraft in the western Pacific:

"The B-1 units bring a unique perspective and years of repeated combat and operational experience from the Central Command theater to the Pacific," said a statement from Pacific Air Forces headquarters in Hawaii.

Guam is a U.S.-controlled island territory in the western Pacific, some 1,550 miles east of the Philippines.

"With a large weapon capacity and exceptional standoff strike capability, the B-1 will provide U.S. Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform," the statement said.

Land attack is important. Small Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea could be hammered quite effectively with a full load of JDAMs.

But I'd be more interested to know if these particular B-1 bombers have naval strike and naval mine-laying capabilities.

If the Chinese fleet sorties in anger, that capability would be pretty useful.

UPDATE: If the B-1 can carry some of these, that would be great:

The Navy is pursuing high-tech seeker upgrades to the submarine and ship-launched Tomahawk missile as a way to better enable the weapon to destroy moving enemy ships at sea.

The B-1 could sink Chinese ships leaving port without being exposed to Chinese air defenses with that kind of capability.