US B-1 bombers ready if called upon by Trump

Washington (CNN)Shortly after tweeting the US military was “locked and loaded” should North Korea “act unwisely,” President Donald Trump returned to Twitter on Friday to emphasize his point by retweeting images of US B-1 bombers currently stationed in Guam.

Featuring a series of photos depicting B-1B Lancers deployed to the US territory, the tweet from US Pacific Command said: “B-1B Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so.”
A key part of the US military’s “tip of the spear,” US B-1 bombers have been seen regularly over the Korean Peninsula in recent months amid escalating tensions with Pyongyang — running regular training flights with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets that often provoke the ire of the North Korean regime.
On Tuesday, Trump warned Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the United States or they will “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Soon after Trump’s comments, North Korea issued a statement saying it was “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around the US territory of Guam in the Pacific, including the Andersen Air Force base where the US B-1 bombers are stationed.
While it was released Wednesday, the statement was dated Tuesday and didn’t make any reference to Trump’s comments. It did, however, express anger over a US flyby of B-1B bombers on Monday.
Another statement was issued by North Korean state media Wednesday warning the US that a “preemptive strike is no longer the monopoly of the US.”
The highly versatile, supersonic B-1 is considered the backbone of the US long range bomber fleet and carries the largest conventional payload of any aircraft in the US Air Force.
The US is currently rotating six B-1s through Andersen Air Force Base in Guam which would serve as a key aerial assets should Trump order a military strike on North Korea either preemptively or as a quick response to escalation from Pyongyang.
While the US would likely use stealth aircraft such as the F-22s, F-35s and B-2 bombers to lead an initial strike targeting North Korean air defense systems, B-1s would likely be dispatched from Guam once those defensive capabilities were disabled — utilizing its heavy payload to strike North Korea’s fortified nuclear weapons sites, according to Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.