As tensions continue to mount between the U.S. and Iran, the Air Force is deploying six B-52 bombers to Diego Garcia, an island base in the Indian Ocean. Though there has been no official word from the Pentagon of the strategic move, reliable sources have confirmed the deployment of the bombers.
The move, which was first reported by CNN, was the latest in efforts by U.S. military officials to bolster resources near the Middle East after the Iraqi Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah hinted at possible retaliatory attacks to avenge Soleimani’s death.
The B-52 bombers reportedly were spotted departing from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to Diego Garcia, which is located 2,300 miles south of Iran’s southernmost tip.
The legendary B-52 is one of the most devastating weapons in the U.S. arsenal. Each aircraft has eight engines and is designed to carry a large cache of weapons including cruise missiles, conventional and laser-guided bombs, and they have long been a staple of America’s nuclear capabilities. Whether there are any nuclear weapons on-board the six bombers that have been deployed cannot be confirmed at this time.
The U.S. military previously had sent a bomber task force to Qatar in May, but the bombers left after a few months, according to defense officials.
In other news regarding military actions in light of the growing tensions between Iran and the U.S. since the killing of General Soleimani, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have reached out to stop confusion about a letter circulating from the U.S. military telling Iraq that it would withdraw troops from the region a day after Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution calling to expel U.S. troops from the country.
Both Esper and Milley called the “unsigned letter” a “mistake” and said the U.S. had “no intention” of withdrawing troops from the Middle East as unease in the region has ramped up.