Combat Command's B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety
of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes
up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance
with worldwide precision navigation capability.
a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform air interdiction, offensive counter-air
and maritime operations. During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all
the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for
ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying
operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000
square kilometers) of ocean surface.
All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical
viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution
low-light-level television sensors to augment the targeting, battle assessment,
flight safety and terrain-avoidance system, thus further improving its combat
ability and low-level flight capability.
Pilots wear night vision goggles
(NVGs) to enhance their night visual, low-level terrain-following operations.
Night vision goggles provide greater safety during night operations by increasing
the pilot's ability to visually clear terrain and avoid enemy radar.
in 1989, an on-going modification incorporates the global positioning system,
heavy stores adaptor beams for carrying 2,000 pound munitions and additional smart
weapons capability. All aircraft are being modified to carry the AGM-142 Raptor
missile and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.
The use of aerial refueling
gives the B-52 a range limited only by crew endurance. It has an unrefueled combat
range in excess of 8,800 miles (14,080 kilometers).
The aircraft's flexibility
was evident during the Vietnam War and, again, in Operation Desert Storm. B-52s
struck wide-area troop concentrations, fixed installations and bunkers, and decimated
the morale of Iraq's Republican Guard. The Gulf War involved the longest strike
mission in the history of aerial warfare when B-52s took off from Barksdale Air
Force Base, La., launched conventional air launched cruise missiles and returned
to Barksdale-- a 35-hour, non-stop combat mission.
more than 35 years B-52 Stratofortresses have been the primary manned strategic
bomber force for the United States. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching
a significant array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. This includes gravity bombs,
cluster bombs and precision guided missiles. Updated with modern technology, the
B-52 will continue into the 21st century as an important element of our nation's
defenses. Current engineering analysis show the B-52's life span to extend beyond
the year 2045.
The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service
in 1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, delivered in
October 1962. Only the H model is still in the Air Force inventory and all are
assigned to Air Combat Command.
The first of 102 B-52H's was delivered to
Strategic Air Command in May 1961. The H model can carry up to 20 air launched
cruise missiles. In addition, it can carry the conventional cruise missile which
was launched from B-52G models during Desert Storm.
The B-52's electronic
countermeasures suite is capable of protecting itself against a full range of
air defense threat systems by using a combination of electronic detection, jamming
and infrared countermeasures. The B-52 can also detect and counter missiles engaging
the aircraft from the rear. These systems are undergoing continuous improvement
in order to enable them to continue to counter emerging threat systems.
Primary Function: Heavy bomber
Military Airplane Co.
Power Plant: Eight Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103
Thrust: Each engine up to 17,000 pounds (7,650 kilograms)
159 feet, 4 inches (48.5 meters)
Height: 40 feet, 8 inches (12.4 meters)
185 feet (56.4 meters)
Speed: 650 miles per hour (Mach 0.86)
50,000 feet (15,151.5 meters)
Weight: Approximately 185,000 pounds empty
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 488,000 pounds (219,600 kilograms)
Unrefueled 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles)
Armament: Approximately 70,000
pounds (31,500 kilograms) mixed ordnance bombs, mines and missiles. (Modified
to carry air-launched cruise missiles, Harpoon anti-ship and Have Nap missiles.)
Six (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator,electronic warfare
officer, and Defensive Fire Control Systems Operator Position - the Gunner, who
is the only enlisted crew member.)
Accommodations: Six ejection seats
Cost: $30 million
Date Deployed: February 1955
Inventory: Active force,
85; ANG, 0; Reserve, 9
Point of Contact
Air Combat Command,
Office of Public Affairs; 115 Thompson Street, Suite 211; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987;
DSN 574-5014 or (804) 764-5014; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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