For the first time in history, three high-powered bombers of the U.S. Air Force patrolled the highly contested South China Sea on Wednesday, sending a message to the Chinese that no one owns the vast maritime zone.
The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday deployed three of its operational bombers over the maritime zone, including the B-52, the B-1, and the B-2. The high-powered bombers took off from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the Business Insider reported.
Bombers in South China Sea
It can be recalled that China, during the height of the maritime dispute in the South China Sea with other Asian neighbors, imposed its own air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the entire region. With the ADIZ, no maritime vessels or aircraft could traverse over the area without permission from Chinese authorities, the Diplomat reported.
This seems to be the U.S.’ way of responding to China’s ADIZ, which came more than a month after the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague was issued.
“This mission demonstrated the US commitment to supporting global security and our ability to launch a credible strategic defense force,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox, 36th Wing commander, said in an Air Force statement, as quoted by Business Insider.
B-52, the B-1, and the B-2 Bombers
According to the Aviationist, the B-52 is part of the latest generation of Stratofortress Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP), replacing several of its B-1 bombers stationed in its Air Force base in Guam.
The B-2 bombers, on the other hand, are stealth bombers equipped with the 509th Bomb Wing, the report added. They first arrived in Guam on August 9 and are expected to be part of the fleet that would patrol over the region claimed by China.