Huge US show of force over Pacific with nuke bombers in warning to China

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STEALTH bombers swoop over the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular show of American air power amid fears of all-out war with China.

A warship sails below as two B-2 Spirit nuclear strike planes fly in formation with four F/A-18 Hornet fighters and a high-tech E-7A Wedgetail “eye-in-the-sky” spy plane from Australia.

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A pair of B-2 Spirit nuclear stealth bombers are pictured soaring over the PacificCredit: Pacific Air Forces

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The took part in drills with fighters and a spy plane from the Royal Australian Air ForceCredit: Pacific Air Forces

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The US and Australian jets put on a show of force to ChinaCredit: Pacific Air Forces

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Forces are readying to ‘respond to any potential crisis’ amid tensions over TaiwanCredit: Pacific Air Forces

The rarely seen B-2 flying wing – designed to be virtually invisible to radar – is the world’s most expensive aircraft at an estimated £1.6billion each.

These incredible pictures were posted online by the US Pacific Air Forces headquartered in Hawaii.

It said the “bilateral training missions” alongside Royal Australian Air Force allies “enhance joint and multilateral readiness”.

And it said the drills allow the Indo-Pacific Command to “respond to any potential crisis in support of a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific.”

That was seen as a pointed reference to massive Chinese war games that surrounded Taiwan with planes and jets this month.

Xi Jinping’s forces effectively blockaded the self-ruled island and fired ballistic missiles in a chilling rehearsal for an invasion.

Such a conflict could draw the US and other allies into a catastrophic battle of superpowers, experts warn.

Amid rising tensions, the US has reportedly stationed four of its radar-dodging batwing B-2 bombers to a base in Australia.

They were designed to penetrate Soviet air defences during the Cold War, carrying nuclear or conventional weapons in a hidden bomb bay.

Still among the world’s most feared warplanes, they can drop up to 80 independently guided weapons on a single 6,000-mile mission.

Or they can deliver two 14-ton bunkerbuster bombs – called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator – to destroy buried targets 200ft underground.

The US has reiterated support for Taiwan after China refused to rule out the use of force to seize the independent island.

Tensions exploded earlier this month when US Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first high-profile US politician to visit in 25 years.

China responded with huge exercises blocking Taiwan’s air and sea space, forcing Taiwanese defenders to go on war footing.

Yesterday China launched further “combat readiness” sea and air drills in response to a visit by a cross-party group of Congressmen.

The Defence Ministry branded the trip an “ambush visit” that “violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Analysts fear Beijing could use claims of “provocation” as an excuse to invade Taiwan, which it claims as its own.

At least four detailed scenarios are said to have been plotted by Xi’s military planners, designed to test resolve in the US to get involved.

Experts warn China’s huge army could crush US-led defences in days, and one simulation reckons the US would lose 900 planes.

However experts also say China would need two million soldiers and would face devastating losses like Russia in Ukraine.

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Taiwan Air Force jets on war footing during Chinese invasion drills earlier this monthCredit: AP

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China fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan during menacing war gamesCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk

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