For 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.
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|
|Power Plant:||Eight Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103 turbofan|
|Thrust:||Each engine up to 17,000 pounds|
|Length:||159 feet, 4 inches (48.5 meters)|
|Height:||40 feet, 8 inches (12.4 meters)|
|Wingspan:||185 feet (56.4 meters)|
|Speed:||650 miles per hour (Mach 0.86)|
|Ceiling:||50,000 feet (15,151.5 meters)|
|Weight:||Approximately 185,000 pounds empty (83,250 kilograms)|
|Range:||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.)|
|Crew:||Five (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer)|
|Unit Cost:||$30 million|
|Date Deployed:||February 1955|
|Inventory:||Active force, 85; ANG, 0; Reserve, 9|