BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. - Friday morning, President Trump said he called off what was supposed to be a retaliatory strike for Iran shooting down an unmanned american drone. Tensions are rising between Iran, and the U.S.
Back at home, at least three B-52 Bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base were deployed on short notice to the Middle East.
Retired Lt. General of the United States Air Force, Robert Elder says he does not know precisely what mission the Air Force will be conducting in that region, but he says the B-52 is used for targeting, and for surveillance as well.
General Elder says one of the things the Air Force is likely doing is conducting surveillance to protect U.S. Navy vessels in that area.
"If you want to send a signal, you send an airplane that's easy to see. A B-52 is easy to see. The fact that it can stay in the airport for long periods of times, and carry a variety of weapons at the same time, and a mix it could do this surveillance mission that's supporting the security based on this air time shipping, it's just a lot of capability packed into one airplane," says General Elder.
He says typically in situations like this, most people are thinking about striking against Iran, but the General says in this situation, the U.S wants to show its capability of striking back especially on short notice which he says is why the B-52s from Barksdale were deployed so quickly.
General Elder says recently the Air Force tested a hyper-sonic missile.
He says the flight test of that missile collected data on drag and vibration impacts on the weapon. The test also wanted to measure the impact of the B-52 carrying it through a process called captive carry.
The missile did not contain explosives, and was not released from the aircraft. The captive carry process is required of the B-52s for all new weapons.
General Elder says the hyper-sonic weapon has rapid response, can be released from long distance, and is difficult to defend.
"The hyper-sonic weapons unlike a ballistic weapon they are maneuverable, so they can actually change directions in flight, so they are very difficult to defend against, Another big advantage is if you're trying to go after a target that's dynamic, maybe not a rapidly moving target, but a dynamic target it can actually get there before that target has a chance to re position."
General Elder says the captive carry process is the last step before the hyper sonic weapons can be put into use in combat.
According to the General, this new weapon is nearly ready for operational use. Recently the Air Force Secretary of Acquisition said he wants to begin testing of the hyper-sonic weapon next year.