Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a tactical bomber long-range subsonic operated by U.S. Air Force (USAF) since 1955.

The contract for its development was signed on June 5, 1946. The Boeing B-52 went through several stages of design, from a six-engine turboprop aircraft until the final prototype YB-52, with eight turbojet engines. The aircraft made its first flight on April 15 1952 with Tex Johnston as pilot.

Built to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. Although a veteran of several wars, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress used only conventional munitions in actual combat. With the wider range of weapons of any contemporary bomber, the B-52 supports up to 32,000 kg in armaments.

The USAF maintains the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in active service since 1955, initially with the Tactical Air Command (SAC), with all aircraft absorbed by Air Combat Command (ACC) in 1992. Its superior performance at high subsonic speeds and low operating costs helped the B-52 to remain in service despite proposals to replace it by the Bombers XB-70 Valkyrie, B-1B Lancer and stealthy B-2 Spirit. In January 2005, the B-52 became the second aircraft, after the British Canberra to celebrate 50 years of continual service. Only five aircrafts completed 50 years of continual service: the Boeing B-52, Canberra, the Tupolev Tu-95, C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker.

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress


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