If China Invades Taiwan, Is the B-52 Bomber Its Last Hope?

David Axe

Key point: The bombers themselves are no longer safe from the Chinese military, but what if...?

China steadily is building up the forces it could deploy in an attempted invasion of Taiwan. The Chinese navy is acquiring aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships while the Chinese army and marine corps add modern fighting vehicles and the air force trains for intensive air-to-air combat.

But in crossing the Taiwan Strait, a Chinese invasion fleet would face not only Taiwanese forces, but probably Americans forces, as well. The United States is obligated by law to assist in Taiwan’s defense. A U.S. Air Force wing commander in August 2019 revealed one form U.S. intervention could take.

Bombers. Dropping mines. Lots of them.

The commandant of the Air Force’s Weapons School, part of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, recently visited Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, home to the 2nd Bomb Wing, the U.S. air arm’s biggest bomber unit with nearly 30 B-52Hs on its rolls.

“I told him to go eat some fried alligator,” 57th Wing commander  Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny wrote on Facebook. “Instead he went dropping sea mines out of a B-52 Stratofortress!” Novotny posted several photos depicting one of the 1960s-vintage B-52s hauling a whopping 15 Quickstrike air-dropped sea mines. Six externally and nine internally.

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