The US military’s growing presence in northern Australia demonstrates Washington’s desire to form a “friends circle” of bombers and stealth fighter jets around China. Towards that goal, the US is set to deploy six nuclear capable B-52 bombers to Australia.
America’s great power rivalry with China is heating up, with the Pentagon planning to station a squadron of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in northern Australia as a “signal” to Beijing, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“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,” said Becca Wasser of the Centre for New American Security.
The US documents disclosed up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers were slated for deployment to the Tindal air base, south of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, according to the Australian broadcaster’s current events show, Four Corners. The airfield would also gain a $100 million expansion for maintenance and bomber parking grounds, which are scheduled to be completed by 2026.
Greens senator David Shoebridge tweeted in the meantime:
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According to Richard Tanter, a senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute and anti-nuclear campaigner, the long-range heavy bombers give a clear “signal to the Chinese” that the United States and its allies are “planning for a war with China.”
According to a recent op-ed in the Australian Financial Review titled “Australia’s alliances in Asia are a tale of two regions” the Biden administration’s chip limitations on China to cripple its technical prowess “is unambiguously a new cold war.” He described Australia’s difficult balancing act of catering to its biggest economic partner, China, and its top security partner, the United States, while Washington puts pressure on Canberra and other nations in the area to disassociate themselves from Beijing.
Aside from the bombers, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States recently unveiled AUKUS, a new security agreement that will allow the Australian military to acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines by 2040.
The US military’s growing presence in northern Australia demonstrates Washington’s desire to form a “friends circle” of bombers and stealth fighter jets around China.