The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range subsonic jet-powered strategic bomber. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is one of the three strategic bombers that are currently serving for the United States Air Force. The aircraft was built by the Boeing which to this day is continuing its support and further upgrades. The aircraft has been serving for the US Air Force since 1950s.
This is one of the world’s top class bomber aircraft with its payload capacity to carry more than 70000 pounds of weapons along with a combat range of 8800 miles without a need for aerial refueling.
The design work for the aircraft started back in 1946 with the early design of an aircraft with 6 turboprop engines with the final one being with 8 turboprop engines and swept wings. The first prototype designated as YB-52 took its first flight back on April of 1952.
The aircraft was originally designed to carry the nuclear weapons of USA during eh Cold War but it never actually carried any. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was built to replace the Convair B-36. The aircraft has been in many combat missions and has only ever dropped standard munitions. The name Stratofortress is rarely used and the aircraft is known by either the name B-52 or another slightly aggressive name “BUFF” which is the acronym of “Big Ugly Fat F**ker”.
The aircraft entered in the standard US Air Force service back in 1955 and since 2018 nearly 58 of these BUFFs are currently serving in active duty while 18 of them are kept in reserve. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress has already served nearly 60 years of active duty service. Back in 2015, new upgrades were made into the design of the aircraft and now it is expected to serve for the US Air Force until 2050.
For our readers today we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress which are as follows.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress’ design started back in 1946 with the first prototype of the aircraft designated as YB-52 took its first flight back on April 15th of 1952. The aircraft formally entered into the US Air Force’s service back in 1955 and to this day is one of the three main bombers for the US Air Force.
This is nearly the 63 years of active service which is longer than any other aircraft in US Air Force.
Designed to carry nuclear weapons:-
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was designed by the US Military in order to carry the Nuclear Weapons during the Cold War era. However, the aircraft never carried any of the nuclear weapons and just dropped normal ordnance in the combat.
During the 5 years of its redesigning period, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress went through six major redesigns with the last one having 8 turboprop engines with swept wings.
Carried North American X-15:-
The aircraft was more than cable enough to carry a weight of more than 70000 pounds and this made the aircraft able to carry even the North American X-15. The X-15 being carried by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was able to fly at the maximum speed of Mach 6.72, which is the fastest speed ever, achieved by any manned aircraft.
Total number of B-52:-
Since the first ever operational B-52, there had been a total of 744 of these aircraft have been developed. The interesting thing, however, is this that only 85 of them are in active service duty while 18 of them are kept in reserve.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is normally known as only B-52, without the main part of the name Superfortress.
There is also another interesting nickname for the B-52 which is BUFF that is the acronym of “Big Ugly Fat F**ker”.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is able to carry the weapons payload of more than 70000 pounds which is nearly equal to 30 fully loaded Cessna 172s.
The aircraft while carrying h maximum payload is able to have a range of more than 8800 miles without the need of aerial refueling.
Unique ejection system:-
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress comes with one of a kind ejection system. In case of emergency, while the crew on the upper deck ejects in the upward direction, the crew on the lower deck ejects in the downward direction.
Flew without its Vertical Stabilizers:-
Back in 1964, one particular B-52 was undergoing the testbed for the investigation of the structural failures. During the testings, the aircraft suffered severe turbulence and as a result of it, the aircraft’s vertical stabilizers were sheared. The B-52 was still able to continue its flight and even land safely without any further damage.
SALT II Treaty requirements:-
According to the SALT II Treaty requirements, any cruise missile capable aircraft is to be identifiable by the spy satellites. The US Air Force in order to comply with the treaty made the changes in the B-52 model “G” to give it curved wing root fairing.
Almost caused an Atomic Bomb disaster:-
Back in 1961, one B-52G was flying over the Goldsboro, NC when it suddenly broke in mid-air. The aircraft had on board two nuclear bombs which also dropped won in the crash but did not detonate.
After the army recovered these nuclear bombs they found that the five of the six stages for the arming sequence had been completed.
Last aircraft shot down by a Bomber gunner:-
Back in 1972, a tail gunner of the B-52 named Albert Moose shot down a Soviet MiG-21 over the Vietnamese air space. This was the last recorded enemy aircraft to be shot down by a bomber gunner.
The cost to fly for one hour:-
At the current moment, the cost to fly a single B-52 for one hour requires about 70000 dollars. While they might seem a bit ugly they are still pretty amazing and one of the most adaptable aircraft in the US Air Force or in the world.