B-52 Stratofortress

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.

General Characteristics

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

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