The Air Force’s venerable B-52H Stratofortress long-range strike bomber reportedly demonstrated the ability to counter a massive marine invasion.
The 57th Wing Commander has released some photos showed B-52H bomber loaded with 15 QuickStrike sea mines (9 inside and 6 were carried externally) at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
“The USAF Weapons School Commandant went to Barksdale AFB. I told him to go eat some fried alligator. Instead, he went dropping sea mines out of a B-52 Stratofortress!” еру 57th Wing Commande announced on its Facebook account.
This capability not only increases the lethality of America’s longest-serving bomber, but it also gives U.S. airpower the ability to creating asymmetric anti-access/area-denial advantage and to counter a massive marine invasion or amphibious operations.
A sea (or naval) mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Mines provide a low-cost battle-space shaping and force protection capability. Mines can be used to deny enemy access to specific areas or channelize the enemy into specific areas
The QuickStrike is a family of shallow-water aircraft-laid mines used by the United States, primarily used against surface and subsurface craft. Quickstrike versions Mark 62 and Mark 63 are converted general-purpose, 500-pound and 1,000-pound bombs, respectively. The Mark 65 is a 2,000-pound mine, which utilizes a thin-walled mine case, rather than a bomb body.
Featuring a fast response-to-readiness capability, the sea mine is one of a new generation of weapons closely related to the destruction family of mines. Using the same variable influence-type target-detector systems, the QuickStrike mines are aircraft-laid bottom mines for use against submarines and surface targets. All mines have the capability of making arming-delay, sterilization, self-destruct, and other operational settings.
According to the Businessinsider, using aircraft to lay mines is a concept that dates back to World War II, but at that time it was difficult to create adequate minefields with any real accuracy at high-altitudes.
The ability to lay powerful mines from a distance would likely come in handy in a number of flashpoint areas, such as the contested South China Sea, where China is fortifying man-made islands or Russia’s backyard in the Baltic Sea.