The B-52 Stratofortress has played a key role with the U.S. Air Force for more than half a century.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a strategic bomber that has been in active duty with the U.S. Air Force since 1955. The aircraft is developed by the Boeing Co. and is a long range subsonic aircraft. The B-52 was developed in the 1940s and 1950s as a vehicle for carrying nuclear weapons during the Cold War. However, no B-52 aircraft has ever released a nuclear bomb. The planes have only dropped conventional bombs. The B-52 can carry up to 70,000 pounds of munitions at a time.
Over the years, the B-52 aircraft have been moved around to different divisions of the U.S. Air Force. In 2010, the B-52s were moved to the Air Combat Command section. The current variation of the B-52 bomber is known as the “B-52H.” Since the Cold War ended, the aircraft has continued to serve in combat zones around the world – notably in the Middle East. B-52 strategic bombers have been used to provide close air support in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to drop precision guided munitions on enemy targets. The U.S. Air Force has announced plans to keep the B-52H aircraft in service until 2040.