The US Defense Department is sending the military aircrafts to the British overseas territory as part of preparations for a possible conflict with Iran in the aftermath of the killing of Qassem Soleimani. No orders have yet been given to launch an attack but US President Donald Trump has threatened to hit 52 Iranian targets, including cultural heritage sites, if Iran strikes US forces in retaliation for the Iranian general’s death. The US chose the Diego Garcia military base because it is out of reach of Iran’s longest range missiles, according to the Pentagon.
But it is close enough for strategic American bombers to reach Iran, located 2,400 miles from southern Iran.
Even though the US military base is located in a British overseas territory, President Trump would not need to ask permission from the UK Government to launch an airstrike on Iran.
This is because America runs its military operations on the island independently.
Iran has the capability to reach several American bases, ports and other installations in the region, putting thousands of American soldiers at risk.
Donald Trump is preparing to launch airstrike on Iran (Image: Getty)
The US have sent six B-52 bombers to a military base near Iran (Image: Getty)
American troops in the Middle East and central Asia includes approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan; 13,000 soldiers in Kuwait; 13,000 more in Qatar; 7,000 in Bahrain; 6,000 in Iraq; 5,000 in the United Arab Emirates; 3,000 in Saudi Arabia; 3,000 in Jordan; and 2,500 in Turkey.
In total, Iran could conceivably strike at areas that would place more than 55,000 American soldiers at risk.
Its ballistic missile arsenal includes weapons that are very difficult to target because they are either road-mobile or hidden inside highly fortified mountain fortresses, The War Zone report.
This is why the US would rely on B-52 bombers out of reach of Iranian missiles.