Conflicts & War

US planning to deploy B-52 bombers in Australia: media report

Sydney, Australia, Oct 31 (EFE).- The United States is planning to deploy six B-52 bombers at a military base in northern Australia, Australian state broadcaster ABC claimed after a journalistic investigation citing military sources and official documents, while analysts have warned that this could raise tensions with China.

The long-range warplanes, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, are set to be deployed at the Tindal airbase, around 300 kms south of the city of Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, according to ABC’s investigative documentary program Four Corners, which is set to be aired on Monday night.

The ABC report, which cites US documents, said that the American department of defense had laid out a budget of $14.5 million in April for the squadron operations and maintenance of the B-52s in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday simply underscored the military cooperation between Canberra and Washington – with the two allies having signed several security pacts – and refused to confirm or deny the reports.

“There are visits, of course, to Australia, including in Darwin, that has US Marines, of course, on a rotating basis stationed there,” Albanese said in a press conference, referring to a 2012 agreement between the two countries approving the rotational presence of US marines in Australia.

Currently around 2,500 US soldiers travel to Australia for deployment every year, with Washington occasionally deploying bombers in the Oceania country from time to time since 1980, apart from sending military missions since the turn of the century.

“The ability to deploy US Air Force bombers to Australia sends a strong message to adversaries about our ability to project lethal air power,” the US Air Force told Four Corners.

According to analysts cited by ABC, stationing B-52 bombers could further stoke tensions with China, as diplomatic ties between Canberra and Beijing have already been strained amid Chinese attempts to extend influence in the Indo-Pacific, a region traditionally controlled by Australia and the US.

Becca Wasser, an expert with the Centre for New American Security, told Four Corners that possessing bombers that bring China within a potential attacking range could be very important to send a warning message to Beijing over the latter’s possible actions against Taiwan. EFE


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