Photo: US Department of Defense via AFP
Photo: US Department of Defense via AFP

The US Strategic Command has confirmed that a B-2 stealth bomber flew over the Pacific Ocean during the weekend in another show of US military might against North Korea. The move follows the US deployment of 3 carrier strike groups and other military assets to the region ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia in early November.

The nuclear-capable bomber departed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri and flew through a zone known as the US military’s Pacific “area of responsibility” which extends north to south from Mongolia to New Zealand and east to west from Pacific islands to India. Specific details of the mission weren’t disclosed.

It’s the first time that the B-2 “Spirit” bomber has been deployed to the Pacific since three of the advanced bombers finished a joint training exercise earlier this year with the Australian Air Force.

The B-2 was first used in combat during the Kosovo War in 1999 where it dropped conventional ordnance as part of a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. The flying wing-shaped aircraft can carry both nuclear weapons and high-explosive bombs. It’s ability to remain virtually invisible to radar, according to many analysts, makes it a likely player in any precision strikes against North Korean nuclear and other military facilities in the event of war.

The US Air Force also plans to deploy 12 advanced F-35A stealth fighters to Japan next month. The US Navy has engaged in large-scale naval maneuvers with South Korean and Japanese naval units in the last two weeks.

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