Global Aircraft -- B-52 Stratofortress
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B-52 Stratofortress
Specifications | Achievements | Features | Background | Photos

B-52 Stratofortress

B-52 Stratofortress Specifications
Primary Function: Heavy bomber
Contractor: Boeing Military Airplane Co.
Crew: Five (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer)
Unit Cost: $53.4 million
  Eight Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103 turbofan (up to 17,000 pounds each)
Length: 159 feet, 4 inches (48.5 meters)
Wingspan: 185 feet (56.4 meters)
Height: 40 feet, 8 inches (12.4 meters)
Empty: 185,000 lb (83,250 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff: 488,000 pounds (219,600 kilograms)
Speed: 650 miles per hour (Mach 0.86)
Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,151.5 meters)
Range: Unrefueled 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles)
  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.)
Service Life
First Flight: April 15, 1952 (YB-52)
August 5, 1954 (B-52A)
January 25, 1955 (B-52B)
March 9, 1956 (B-52C)
End of Service: N/A
Number Built: [744 total]

B-52 Stratofortress Achievements
  • The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory.
  • The B-52 made the longest strike mission in the history of aerial warfare during the Gulf War, flying 35 hours non-stop.

B-52 Stratofortress Features

  In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform strategic attack, 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 targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety, thus further improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability.

  Pilots wear night vision goggles (NVGs) to enhance their vision during night operations. Night vision goggles provide greater safety during night operations by increasing the pilot's ability to visually clear terrain, avoid enemy radar and see other aircraft in a covert/lights-out environment.

  Starting in 1989, on-going modifications incorporates the global positioning system, heavy stores adapter beams for carrying 2,000 pound munitions, and a full array of advance weapons currently under development. 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 in Operation Desert Storm and again during Operations Allied Force. 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. .

  During Operation Allied Force, B-52s opened the conflict with conventional cruise missile attacks and then transitioned to delivering general purpose bombs and cluster bomb units on Serbian army positions and staging areas.

B-52 Stratofortress Background

  The B-52 first entered service in June 1955, now only 2 versions remain in service with its successor, ACC. A total of 193 J57 powered B-52G were built with integral wing tanks and short fin, and armed with four 0.50-in machine guns. In desert Storm, all missions were assigned to the G model, operating as free-fall bombers. The B-52G is well protected by numerous ECM systems, and 2 under nose 'blisters' house LLLTV and FLIR sensors - used with the terrain avoidance radar to provide low-level penetration capability. Some B-52 were used in many aircraft testing as motherships to carry them up to testing altitude, such as the X-15 program.

Summary Copyright © Charles M (JetWhiz)

B-52 Stratofortress Photos
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