• The B-1B is a military aircraft heavily loaded with guided weapons
  • The presence of the bombers also coincide with an ongoing military drill 
  • The U.S. Air Force had ended the Continuous Bomber Presence in Guam in 2020 

Two years after the U.S. Air Force pulled four bombers out of Guam, B-1Bs are reportedly back at the Anderson Air Force base on the island.

However, it is unclear whether the aircraft are there to take part in a drill or as part of deployments to the Indo-Pacific region.

The U.S. Air Force ended the Continuous Bomber Presence on the island after 16 years in 2020 when five B-52s left the base in April. However, reports from military circles last month said the Air Force would redeploy the B-1Bs as a deterrent against North Korea's missile tests and mounting tensions with China and Russia, according to The Drive.

Meanwhile, Valiant Shield, a series of multi-domain drills, is also underway in the region. The exercise, which will extend till June 17, will see USS Ronald Reagan and USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Groups taking part in it.

A statement by the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet added more than 200 aircraft would take part in the drill, though there was no specific mention about the B-1Bs. The U.S. Air Force had also brought in B-52Hs to the island last February for the annual Cope North multinational military exercises.

However, the deployment of B-1Bs comes amid reports that China has set up replicas of ships in Guam to practice missile strikes. The People's Liberation Army had also recently revealed footage of its next-generation D-26 ballistic missile, dubbed the "Guam Killer" for its range.

With Beijing's threat increasing, steps to boost Guam's missile defense capabilities beyond the existing THAAD battery were widely discussed. Besides a training to better survive a more limited attack, Iron Dome batteries have also been deployed to the island in an experimental initiative to counter missile threats.

According to military sources, the B-1B Bomber, dubbed the "Swan of Death," is a military aircraft heavily loaded with guided weapons that can launch precision strikes on missiles and nuclear bases.

The U.S. had earlier deployed the bombers during the North Korea’s nuclear and missiles provocations in 2017, wherein the aircraft flew across the North Limit Line in the West Sea. The moves are being seen as a show of force aimed at forestalling potential provocations by North Korea.

However, since 2017, the bombers never made an appearance in the Korean peninsula. Three years later, the Pentagon pulled them from Guam, stating the bombers can be more effective when flying from their home bases in the continental United States.

Airman found dead at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam
In this photo, cars leave Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam, Aug. 14, 2017. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan