The Pentagon is considering further actions to deter North Korea following Sunday’s flight of a B-52 Stratofortress from Andersen AFB, Guam, over South Korea. The flight, which also included a South Korean F-15K Slam Eagle and a US F-16, took place in response to North Korea’s purported test of a hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6. The flight showed “we are ready at a moment’s notice to defend our ally there,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Jan. 11. The Pentagon would not confirm or deny if there were any weapons on the aircraft. The department is also mulling additional action, but it is “not ready to reveal everything that’s up our sleeve,” Davis said. The Defense Department is still working to confirm North Korea’s claims of a successful test through ground monitoring stations and flights by a WC-135 Constant Phoenix in the region to collect air samples. “This assessment is ongoing,” Davis said.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.