The B-2 bombers, the most expensive aircraft in the world at about US$2 billion apiece, have conducted secret bombing runs over the Korean Peninsula several times, but this is the first time their dry runs have been made public.
U.S. military authorities apparently decided to announce them because they wanted to send a warning message to North Korea in response to recent belligerent rhetoric and dampen mounting calls from South Korea to build its own nuclear weapons.
Two B-2 bombers took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri on Wednesday night and flew 10,500 km for more than 15 hours, being refueled in mid-air. They arrived in the air over the Jikdo firing range around noon Thursday. After dropping drill bombs, they were refueled again and returned to their home base.
The CFC said in a press release U.S. Strategic Command sent the bombers "as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle training exercise," demonstrating U.S. commitment and "its capability to defend [South Korea] and to provide extended deterrence."
It would prove its real worth when striking strategic targets such as the North Korean presidential palace and nuclear and missile bases that are equipped with powerful anti-air defense systems or hidden deep underground.