Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Diego Garcia to Harare Return Flight
The straight line distance from the American air base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Harare in Zimbababwe is 2,873 miles. The unrefuelled range of a Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit is 6,100 miles. This, or the weapons payload, may be increased by inflight-refuelling by tanker aircraft.
As a comparison, the five 1982 "Black Buck" raids by RAF Vulcans from Ascension Island to Port Stanley Airport in the Falkland Islands were 4,000 mile round trips requiring six refuellings for each Vulcan. Twenty-one unguided 1,000 pound bombs or anti radar Shrike missiles were carried. Now, a B-52 flew from its base in the USA in to Iraq and back to RAF Mildenhall during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 but tanker aircraft were prepositioned nearer to the target.
So, to claim the undisputed record for the USAF, and to do something good for democracy in Zimbabwe, why not order a raid, Mr President?
As an alternative, because other munitions delivery systems are available, the Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missile as used by all the world's most popular navies, has a range of 1500 miles and carries a 1,00 lb warhead. The distance from Harare to the port of Beira on Mozambique's Indian Ocean coast is about 250 miles.