Report: US Air Force to Deploy Nuclear Capable B-52s to Australia

On Monday, the Australian Broadcast Corporation's Four Corners program reported that the US is planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Royal Australian Air Force's Tindal base.

Report: US Air Force to Deploy Nuclear Capable B-52s to Australia
Image credit: US Air Force [via Reuters]

Facts

  • On Monday, the Australian Broadcast Corporation's Four Corners program reported that the US is planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Royal Australian Air Force's Tindal base.
  • This comes as the region has become a crucial defense hub for the US, which has reportedly committed to spending $1B to upgrade its military assets there as tensions with China mount.
  • The expansion of the Tindal air base, which includes a parking area to accommodate up to six B-52 bombers, is expected to finish in late 2026 and to cost up to $100M.
  • Australian officials stated that the project was currently in the design phase and downplayed the importance of the US deploying bombers by claiming that these aircraft have been visiting Australia since the 1980s and conducting training there since 2005.
  • The B-52 bombers were built to carry nuclear weapons for deterrence missions during the Cold War, having a combat range of about 14k km without aerial fueling. The US Air Force has an estimated 76 B-52 bombers in service.
  • Over the past decade, Australia has deepened its military ties with the US. Last year, both countries struck the trilateral deal "AUKUS" with the UK to provide nuclear-propelled submarines for Australia, and boost its military research and development.

Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera, rnz, Guardian, Daily Mail, and FT.

Narratives

  • Anti-China narrative, as provided SMH. As China threatens to invade Taiwan, the deepening of US-Australia military ties is sensible to dissuade Beijing from such a reckless move. The best way to avoid a war isn't to indicate that Australia would be out of a possible conflict zone, but to present a united front against PRC aggression.
  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by Global Times. Australia must understand that Beijing will not make the slightest concession concerning its core interests, especially involving Taiwan. Friendly relations with China would be more in line with the actual interests of Australia — Canberra will only hurt itself by becoming a US geopolitical pawn.

Predictions