In what is meant to be a “signal” to Beijing, but some are calling an “escalation” the Pentagon has announced that it will be deploying six B-52 bombers to the Tindal air base South of Darwin, Australia.
According to Becca Wasser with the Centre for New American Security, “Having bombers that could range and potentially attack mainland China could be very important in sending a signal to China that any of its actions over Taiwan could also expand further.”
The U.S. documents with details on the deployment were revealed on an Australian current events show Four Corners, and outlines that up to six B-52 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear warheads are set to deploy to the air base in Northern Australia. Along with the bombers, Tindal air base would also receive $100 million for upgrades to the parking and maintenance areas for the planes. The upgrades are expected to be completed by 2026.
In a statement to Four Corners, the U.S. Air Force said, “The ability to deploy US Air Force bombers to Australia sends a strong message to adversaries about our ability to project lethal air power.”
Meanwhile, Australian politician and Greens Senator, David Shoebridge, thinks the deployment of bombers is more of an escalation than it is a signal saying, “This is a dangerous escalation. It makes Australia an even bigger part of the global nuclear weapons threat to humanity’s very existence – and by rising military tension it further destabilizes our region.”
According to Richard Tanter, a senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute, the bombers are a signal to China that the U.S. and its allies are “planning for a war with China.
In addition to the deployment of B-52 bombers, the UK, U.S., and Australia just announced a new security deal, AUKUS, which allows the Australian military to add a fleet of nuclear submarines to its armada by 2040.
In response to the growing nuclear threat from China along with its increasing tension towards Taiwan, the U.S. has been working to build up its number of bombers and fighter jets in the region that would be capable of a quick response should China invade Taiwan or make other nuclear threats.