Getting a Guamuppance
The hulking stealth aircraft is a symbol of new times in the Pacific.
"Having this airplane in theater sends a message to the world," said Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Bussiere, of St. Johnsbury, Vt., who arrived at Andersen last February with four of the boomerang-shaped strategic warplanes.
The deployment of Bussiere's squadron, replacing a contingent of aging B-52s, marked part of a broad U.S. military realignment in the fast-changing Pacific. The reposturing, scheduled to run over several years, has been designed to strengthen U.S. military forces in Asia and usher them into a new era, reacting primarily to China's expanding diplomatic, economic and military power.
The rise of China as a regional force has shaken assumptions that had governed this vast region since the end of World War II, including that of uncontested U.S. naval and air power from California to the Chinese coast. With those days soon to end, senior officers said, the U.S. military in Asia is retooling to reflect new war-making technology, better prepare for military crises and counter any future threat from the emergent Chinese navy and air force...." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/16/AR2005091601983_pf.html
“It will increase PLA Il-76 heavy transport numbers by 150 percent to about 50 total, and will be the first sale of the Il-78M refueler — which will handily enable PLAAF and PLA Navy Su-30 fighter bombers to strike as far as Guam,” Fisher said."