On June 6, the U.S. military sent two B-1B Lancer bombs from Guam to the South China Sea, a move that challenges China's increasingly aggressive territorial claims over island chains in the waterway, which the U.S. recognizes as international waters.
The following day, the Air Force said in a statement that the bombers had flown over the area to assert the right to treat the region as international territory, reported the South China Morning Post.
China appears unfazed. According to Reuters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said there was “no conflict” created by the bombers flying over the East and South China Seas, but he added that “China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China's sovereignty and security.”
China has been building more strategic outposts across the South China Sea, which has U.S. officials concerned the nation will create problems in the region, where nearly $5 trillion worth of trade is made by ships.
But what’s more concerning in the short term is that the challenge came just one day before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were set to meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, to discuss urgent threats like North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
"The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability," reads a statement from the Chinese Defense Ministry provided to Reuters.
The U.S. bombers were purportedly coming from conducting training exercises with the Japanese military in the East China.
As China has become increasingly territorial over the region, the U.S. has begun to assert itself more and more.
Last month two other Lancers flew from Guam over the South China Sea, and in May, the Navy performed a drill just 12 nautical miles from one of China's artificial islands, Reuters reports.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.