USA V North Korea: This is the brutal US military arsenal poised to WIPE OUT Kim’s threat

6:17:00 PM



NORTH Korea tensions and the possibility of an all-out war are continuing to rise but recent bombing drills by South Korean and US troops suggest military options are being considered to end the crisis.

After North Korea’s UN envoy said the country would never bow down to international pressure and give up its nuclear weapons program, diplomatic means of addressing the hostilities appear to have been sidelined in favour of military action.

Donald Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley and the President himself have said “the time for talk is over”, despite China, Russia, and other members of the US administration claiming dialogue remains the main aim.

The US military has a huge presence in the area around North Korea, particularly in Japan and increasingly close allies South Korea.

There are almost 40,000 US troops serving in Japan, more than in any other country, and earlier this year the US Air Force lined up a huge array of helicopters, tactical fighter jets and surveillance aircraft in a show of force aimed to intimidate Kim Jong-un.

Among the aircraft were HH-60 Pave Hawks, a twin-turboshaft helicopter primarily used for the insertion and rescue of special operation personnel.

The aircraft’s versatility makes it incredibly useful in other operations too, including civilian rescue and disaster relief.

The F-15 Eagles, America’s twin-engine, all-weather tactile fighter jets, are also stationed in the region and are among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat.

Also headquartered in Japan is the Seventh Fleet, the largest of the US navy’s deployed sea forces.

The flagship carrier is the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier that forms part of “the most effective and agile fighting force in the world”.

Also in the fleet are up to 14 destroyers and cruisers at any given time, some armed with ballistic missile interceptors.

A collection of long-range Tomahawk land missiles, which made headlines earlier this year when President Trump fired 59 of them at an airbase in Syria, joins the arsenal.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are also 12 nuclear-powered submarines available should war break out.

South of the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the US has 23,468 troops at 83 different sites as well as hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles, meaning there is always a heavy military presence should North Korea decide to launch a land attack.

There is also the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, which, despite criticism from Beijing and Pyongyang, is ready and waiting to intercept missiles and destroy the incoming projectiles while in mid-flight.

Guam, the US territory that Kim Jong-un has threatened to fire four ballistic missiles towards, is also host to a huge military presence.

Much of the island is controlled by the armed forces and the Andersen air base hosts a range of bombers, resulting in Guam being dubbed a “permanent aircraft carrier”.

Among the aircraft at the base are B-1B bombers, B-52 bombers and F-35B stealth fighters, some of the US Air Force’s most impressive jets.

The B-1B bomber is heralded for its survivability and although initially designed to carry nuclear arms, it was converted to carry more conventional weaponry after the Cold War.

The US is believed to have at least six B-1B bombers stationed in Guam and is best suited to a ‘medium threat environment’, rather than a heavily defended airspace.

Speaking about plans for a possible preemptive strike on North Korea earlier this month, retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC News: “The B-1b has also been selected because it has the added benefit of not being able to carry nuclear weapons.

“Military planners think that will signal China, Russia, and Pyongyang that the US is not trying to escalate an already bad situation any further."

The B-52 was first introduced in 1955 and was originally designed to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War. It remains one of the most superior aircraft in the US Air Force.

The long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber is capable of carrying more than 30 tons of weapons. The aircraft’s fearsome appearance and reputation has resulted in the nickname BUFF, which stands for Big Ugly Fat F*****.

The US also maintains a smaller presence in other countries in the region, including Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. US military aircraft use Thai runways while the US Navy will operate four warships out of Singapore by next year.

Tensions have been stepped across the region over recent days following North Korea firing a test missile over Japan.

The provocative action saw South Korea and US forces drop bombs on the border of the hermit state.

Earlier today France warned the situation was "extremely serious".

Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned a nuclear strike on Europe was possible and said a world war could erupt in months.

He said: "The situation is extremely serious... we see North Korea setting itself as an objective to have, tomorrow or the day after, missiles that can transport nuclear weapons.

"Ina few months that will be a reality."

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