B-52 Stratofortress
Aerial top/side view of gray B-52H flying over barren desert land.
A B-52H from Barksdale AFB flying over desert
Role Strategic bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight 15 April 1952
Introduction February 1955
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
Produced 1952–1962
Number built 744[1]
Developed into Conroy Virtus

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons,[2] and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling.[3]

Beginning with the successful contract bid in June 1946, the B-52 design evolved from a straight wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings. The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. A veteran of several wars, the B-52 has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. The B-52's official name Stratofortress is rarely used; informally, the aircraft has become commonly referred to as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fella/Fucker).[4][5][6][Note 1]

The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955. As of December 2015, 58 were in active service with 18 in reserve.[8] The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was disestablished in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC); in 2010 all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later, more advanced aircraft, including the canceled Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealth B-2 Spirit. The B-52 completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is expected to serve into the 2050s.[Note 2]



Models 462 (1946)[13] to 464–35 (1948)[13]
Models 464-49 (1949)[13] to B-52A (1952)

On 23 November 1945, Air Materiel Command (AMC) issued desired performance characteristics for a new strategic bomber "capable of carrying out the strategic mission without dependence upon advanced and intermediate bases controlled by other countries".[14] The aircraft was to have a crew of five or more turret gunners, and a six-man relief crew. It was required to cruise at 300 mph (260 knots, 480 km/h) at 34,000 feet (10,400 m) with a combat radius of 5,000 miles (4,300 nautical miles, 8,000 km). The armament was to consist of an unspecified number of 20 mm cannon and 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of bombs.[15] On 13 February 1946, the Air Force issued bid invitations for these specifications, with Boeing, Consolidated Aircraft, and Glenn L. Martin Company submitting proposals.[15]

On 5 June 1946, Boeing's Model 462, a straight-wing aircraft powered by six Wright T35 turboprops with a gross weight of 360,000 pounds (160,000 kg) and a combat radius of 3,110 miles (2,700 nmi, 5,010 km), was declared the winner.[16] On 28 June 1946, Boeing was issued a letter of contract for US$1.7 million to build a full-scale mockup of the new XB-52 and do preliminary engineering and testing.[17] However, by October 1946, the [Air Force began to express concern about the sheer size of the new aircraft and its inability to meet the specified design requirements.[18] In response, Boeing produced Model 464, a smaller four-engine version with a 230,000 pound (105,000 kg) gross weight, which was briefly deemed acceptable.[18][19]

Subsequently, in November 1946, the Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, General Curtis LeMay, expressed the desire for a cruising speed of 400 miles per hour (345 kn, 645 km/h), to which Boeing responded with a 300,000 lb (136,000 kg) aircraft.[20] In December 1946, Boeing was asked to change their design to a four-engine bomber with a top speed of 400 miles per hour, range of 12,000 miles (10,000 nmi, 19,300 km), and the ability to carry a nuclear weapon; in total, the aircraft could weigh up to 480,000 pounds (220,000 kg).[21] Boeing responded with two models powered by T35 turboprops. The Model 464-16 was a "nuclear only" bomber with a 10,000 pound (4,500 kg) payload, while the Model 464-17 was a general purpose bomber with a 9,000 pound (4,000 kg) payload.[21] Due to the cost associated with purchasing two specialized aircraft, the [Air Force selected Model 464-17 with the understanding that it could be adapted for nuclear strikes.[22]

In June 1947, the military requirements were updated and the Model 464-17 met all of them except for the range.[23] It was becoming obvious to the Air Force that, even with the updated performance, the XB-52 would be obsolete by the time it entered production and would offer little improvement over the Convair B-36 Peacemaker; as a result, the entire project was postponed for six months.[24] During this time, Boeing continued to perfect the design, which resulted in the Model 464-29 with a top speed of 455 miles per hour (395 kn, 730 km/h) and a 5,000-mile range.[25] In September 1947, the Heavy Bombardment Committee was convened to ascertain performance requirements for a nuclear bomber. Formalized on 8 December 1947, these requirements called for a top speed of 500 miles per hour (440 kn, 800 km/h) and an 8,000 mile (7,000 nmi, 13,000 km) range, far beyond the capabilities of 464–29.[24][26]

The outright cancellation of the Boeing contract on 11 December 1947 was staved off by a plea from its president William McPherson Allen to the Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington.[27] Allen reasoned that the design was capable of being adapted to new aviation technology and more stringent requirements.[28] In January 1948 Boeing was instructed to thoroughly explore recent technological innovations, including aerial refueling and the flying wing.[29] Noting stability and control problems Northrop was experiencing with their YB-35 and YB-49 flying wing bombers, Boeing insisted on a conventional aircraft, and in April 1948 presented a US$30 million (US$380 million today[30]) proposal for design, construction, and testing of two Model 464-35 prototypes.[31] Further revisions during 1948 resulted in an aircraft with a top speed of 513 miles per hour (445 kn, 825 km/h) at 35,000 feet (10,700 m), a range of 6,909 miles (6,005 nmi, 11,125 km), and a 280,000 pounds (125,000 kg) gross weight, which included 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of bombs and 19,875 US gallons (75,225 L) of fuel.[32][33]

Design effort

XB-52 Prototype on flight line (X-4 in foreground)
Side, black and white view of an early B-52, which features the bubble canopy. The aircraft is heading to sea, leaving behind the coastline on its right wing.
Side view of YB-52 bomber, with bubble canopy similar to that of the B-47

In May 1948, AMC asked Boeing to incorporate the previously discarded, but now more fuel-efficient, jet engine into the design.[34] That resulted in the development of yet another revision—in July 1948, Model 464-40 substituted Westinghouse J40 turbojets for the turboprops.[35] The Air Force project officer who reviewed the Model 464-40 was favorably impressed, especially since he had already been thinking along similar lines. Nevertheless, the government was concerned about the high fuel consumption rate of the jet engines of the day, and directed that Boeing still use the turboprop-powered Model 464-35 as the basis for the XB-52. Although he agreed that turbojet propulsion was the future, General Howard A. Craig, Deputy Chief of Staff for Material, was not very keen on a jet-powered B-52, since he felt that the jet engine had not yet progressed sufficiently to permit skipping an intermediate turboprop stage. However, Boeing was encouraged to continue turbojet studies even without any expected commitment to jet propulsion.[36][37]

On Thursday, 21 October 1948, Boeing engineers George S. Schairer, Art Carlsen and Vaughn Blumenthal presented the design of a four-engine turboprop bomber to the chief of bomber development, Colonel Pete Warden. Warden was disappointed by the projected aircraft and asked if the Boeing team could come up with a proposal for a four-engine turbojet bomber. Joined by Ed Wells, Boeing vice president of engineering, the engineers worked that night in The Hotel Van Cleve in Dayton, Ohio, redesigning Boeing's proposal as a four-engine turbojet bomber. On Friday, Colonel Warden looked over the information and asked for a better design. Returning to the hotel, the Boeing team was joined by Bob Withington and Maynard Pennell, two top Boeing engineers who were in town on other business.[38]

By late Friday night, they had laid out what was essentially a new airplane. The new design (464–49) built upon the basic layout of the B-47 Stratojet with 35-degree swept wings, eight engines paired in four underwing pods, and bicycle landing gear with wingtip outrigger wheels.[39] A notable feature of the landing gear was the ability to pivot the main landing gear up to 20° from the aircraft centerline to increase safety during crosswind landings.[40] After a trip to a hobby shop for supplies, Schairer set to work building a model. The rest of the team focused on weight and performance data. Wells, who was also a skilled artist, completed the aircraft drawings. On Sunday, a stenographer was hired to type a clean copy of the proposal. On Monday, Schairer presented Colonel Warden with a neatly bound 33-page proposal and a 14-inch scale model.[38] The aircraft was projected to exceed all design specifications.[41]

Although the full-size mock-up inspection in April 1949 was generally favorable, range again became a concern since the J40s and early model J57s had excessive fuel consumption.[42] Despite talk of another revision of specifications or even a full design competition among aircraft manufacturers, General LeMay, now in charge of Strategic Air Command, insisted that performance should not be compromised due to delays in engine development.[43][44] In a final attempt to increase range, Boeing created the larger 464-67, stating that once in production, the range could be further increased in subsequent modifications.[45] Following several direct interventions by LeMay,[46] Boeing was awarded a production contract for thirteen B-52As and seventeen detachable reconnaissance pods on 14 February 1951.[47] The last major design change—also at General LeMay's insistence—was a switch from the B-47 style tandem seating to a more conventional side-by-side cockpit, which increased the effectiveness of the copilot and reduced crew fatigue.[48] Both XB-52 prototypes featured the original tandem seating arrangement with a framed bubble-type canopy.[49]

Pre-production and production

The YB-52, the second XB-52 modified with more operational equipment, first flew on 15 April 1952 with "Tex" Johnston as pilot.[50][51] During ground testing on 29 November 1951, the XB-52's pneumatic system failed during a full-pressure test; the resulting explosion severely damaged the trailing edge of the wing, necessitating considerable repairs. A two-hour, 21-minute proving flight from Boeing Field, King County, in Seattle, Washington to Larson Air Force Base was undertaken with Boeing test pilot Johnston and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guy M. Townsend.[52] The XB-52 followed on 2 October 1952.[53] The thorough development,[Note 3] including 670 days in the wind tunnel and 130 days of aerodynamic and aeroelastic testing, paid off with smooth flight testing. Encouraged, the Air Force increased its order to 282 B-52s.[55]

Aircraft deliveries
B-52 model   Annual
1954 3 3 3
1955 13 13 16
1956 35 5 1 41 57
1957 2 30 92 124 181
1958 77 100 10 187 368
1959 79 50 129 497
1960 106 106 603
1961 37 20 57 660
1962 68 68 728
1963 14 14 742
Total 3 50 35 170 100 89 193 102 742 742

Only three of the 13 B-52As ordered were built.[64] All were returned to Boeing, and used in their test program.[56] On 9 June 1952, the February 1951 contract was updated to order the aircraft under new specifications. The final 10, the first aircraft to enter active service, were completed as B-52Bs.[56] At the roll-out ceremony on 18 March 1954, Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining said:

The long rifle was the great weapon of its day. ... today this B-52 is the long rifle of the air age.[65][66]

The B-52B was followed by progressively improved bomber and reconnaissance variants, culminating in the B-52G and turbofan B-52H. To allow rapid delivery, production, lines were set up both at its main Seattle factory and at Boeing's Wichita facility. More than 5,000 companies were involved in the huge production effort, with 41% of the airframe being built by subcontractors.[67] The prototypes and all B-52A, B and C models (90 aircraft)[68] were built at Seattle. Testing of aircraft built at Seattle caused problems due to jet noise, which led to the establishment of curfews for engine tests. Aircraft were ferried 150 miles (240 km) east on their maiden flights to Larson Air Force Base near Moses Lake, where they were fully tested.[69]

As production of the B-47 came to an end, the Wichita factory was phased in for B-52D production, with Seattle responsible for 101 D-models and Wichita 69.[70] Both plants continued to build the B-52E, with 42 built at Seattle and 58 at Wichita,[71] and the B-52F (44 from Seattle and 45 from Wichita).[72] For the B-52G, Boeing decided in 1957 to transfer all production to Wichita, which freed up Seattle for other tasks, in particular, the production of airliners.[73][74] Production ended in 1962 with the B-52H, with 742 aircraft built, plus the original two prototypes.[75]


A proposed variant of the B-52H was the EB-52H, which would have consisted of 16 modified and augmented B-52H airframes with additional electronic jamming capabilities.[76][77] This variant would have restored USAF airborne jamming capability that it lost on retiring the EF-111 Raven. The program was canceled in 2005 following the removal of funds for the stand-off jammer. The program was revived in 2007, and cut again in early 2009.[78]

In July 2013, the Air Force began a fleet-wide technological upgrade of its B-52 bombers called Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) to modernize electronics, communications technology, computing, and avionics on the flight deck. CONECT upgrades include software and hardware such as new computer servers, modems, radios, data-links, receivers, and digital workstations for the crew. One update is the ARC-210 Warrior beyond-line-of-sight software programmable radio able to transmit voice, data, and information in-flight between B-52s and ground command and control centers, allowing the transmission and reception of data with updated intelligence, mapping, and targeting information; previous in-flight target changes required copying down coordinates. The ARC-210 allows machine-to-machine transfer of data, useful on long-endurance missions where targets may have moved before the arrival of the B-52. The aircraft will be able to receive information through Link-16. CONECT upgrades will cost $1.1 billion overall and take several years. Funding has been secured for 30 B-52s; the Air Force hopes for 10 CONECT upgrades per year, but the rate has yet to be decided.[79]

Weapons upgrades include the 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade (IWBU), which gives a 66 percent increase in weapons payload using a digital interface (MIL-STD-1760) and rotary launcher. IWBU is expected to cost roughly $313 million.[79] The 1760 IWBU will allow the B-52 to carry eight[80] JDAM 2000 lb bombs, AGM-158B JASSM-ER cruise missile and the ADM-160C MALD-J decoy missiles internally. All 1760 IWBUs should be operational by October 2017. Two bombers will have the ability to carry 40 weapons in place of the 36 that three B-52s can carry.[81] The 1760 IWBU allows precision-guided missiles or bombs to be deployed from inside the weapons bay; previous aircraft carried these munitions externally on wing hardpoints. This increases the number of guided weapons a B-52 can carry and reduces the need for guided bombs to be carried on the wings. The first phase will allow a B-52 to carry twenty-four 500-pound guided JDAM bombs or twenty 2,000-pound JDAMs, with later phases accommodating the JASSM and MALD family of missiles.[82] In addition to carrying more smart bombs, moving them internally from the wings reduces drag and achieves a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption.[83]

Air Force scientists are working to arm the B-52 with defensive laser weapons able to incinerate attacking air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles.[84]



The B-52 shared many technological similarities with the preceding Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber. The two aircraft used the same basic design, such as swept wings and podded jet engines,[85] and the cabin included the crew ejection systems.[86] On the B-52D, the pilots and electronic countermeasures (EDM) operator ejected upwards, while the lower deck crew ejected downwards; until the B-52G, the gunner had to jettison the tail gun to bail out.[87]

Black-and-white photo of a B-52 inflight with its vertical stabilizer sheared off.
B-52H (AF Ser. No. 61-0023), configured at the time as a testbed to investigate structural failures, still flying after its vertical stabilizer sheared off in severe turbulence on 10 January 1964. The aircraft landed safely.[88]

Structural fatigue was accelerated by at least a factor of eight in a low-altitude flight profile over that of high-altitude flying, requiring costly repairs to extend service life. In the early 1960s, the three-phase High Stress program was launched to counter structural fatigue, enrolling aircraft at 2,000 flying hours.[89][90] Follow-up programs were conducted, such as a 2,000-hour service life extension to select airframes in 1966–1968, and the extensive Pacer Plank reskinning, completed in 1977.[74][91] The wet wing introduced on G and H models was even more susceptible to fatigue, experiencing 60% more stress during flight than the old wing. The wings were modified by 1964 under ECP 1050.[92] This was followed by a fuselage skin and longeron replacement (ECP 1185) in 1966, and the B-52 Stability Augmentation and Flight Control program (ECP 1195) in 1967.[92] Fuel leaks due to deteriorating Marman clamps continued to plague all variants of the B-52. To this end, the aircraft were subjected to Blue Band (1957), Hard Shell (1958), and finally QuickClip (1958) programs. The latter fitted safety straps that prevented catastrophic loss of fuel in case of clamp failure.[93] The B-52's service ceiling is officially listed as 50,000 feet, but operational experience shows this is difficult to reach when fully laden with bombs. According to one source: "The optimal altitude for a combat mission was around 43,000 feet, because to exceed that height would rapidly degrade the plane's range."[94]

In September 2006, the B-52 became one of the first US military aircraft to fly using alternative fuel. It took off from Edwards Air Force Base with a 50/50 blend of Fischer–Tropsch process (FT) synthetic fuel and conventional JP-8 jet fuel, which burned in two of the eight engines.[95] On 15 December 2006, a B-52 took off from Edwards with the synthetic fuel powering all eight engines, the first time an air force aircraft was entirely powered by the blend. The seven-hour flight was considered a success.[95] This program is part of the Department of Defense Assured Fuel Initiative, which aimed to reduce crude oil usage and obtain half of its aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2016.[95] On 8 August 2007, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne certified the B-52H as fully approved to use the FT blend.[96]

Flight controls

Because of the B-52's mission parameters, only modest maneuvers would be required with no need for spin recovery.[97] The aircraft has a relatively small, narrow chord rudder, giving it limited yaw control authority. Originally an all-moving vertical stabilizer was to be used, but was abandoned because of doubts about hydraulic actuator reliability.[97] Because the aircraft has eight engines, asymmetrical thrust due to the loss of an engine in flight would be minimal and correctable with the narrow rudder. To assist with crosswind takeoffs and landings the main landing gear can be pivoted 20 degrees to either side from neutral.[98] This yaw adjustable crosswind landing gear would be preset by the crew according to wind observations made on the ground.

The elevator is also very narrow in chord like the rudder, and the B-52 suffers from limited elevator control authority. For long term pitch trim and airspeed changes the aircraft uses an all-moving tail with the elevator used for small adjustments within a stabilizer setting. The stabilizer is adjustable through 13 degrees of movement (nine up, four down) and is crucial to operations during take off and landing due to large pitch changes induced by flap application.[99]

B-52s prior to the G models had very small ailerons with a short span that was approximately equal to their chord. These "feeler ailerons" were used to provide feedback forces to the pilot's control yoke and to fine tune the roll axes during delicate maneuvers such as aerial refueling.[97] Due to twisting of the thin main wing, conventional outboard flap type ailerons would lose authority and therefore could not be used. In other words, aileron activation would cause the wing to twist, undermining roll control. Six spoilerons on each wing are responsible for the majority of roll control. The late B-52G models eliminated the ailerons altogether and added an extra spoileron to each wing.[97] Partly because of the lack of ailerons, the B-52G and H models were more susceptible to Dutch roll.[99]


Lower deck of a B-52, with instruments and displays featuring dominantly on the aircraft's side wall. This station is manned by two crew members.
A view of the lower deck of the B-52, dubbed the battle station

Ongoing problems with avionics systems were addressed in the Jolly Well program, completed in 1964, which improved components of the AN/ASQ-38 bombing navigational computer and the terrain computer. The MADREC (Malfunction Detection and Recording) upgrade fitted to most aircraft by 1965 could detect failures in avionics and weapons computer systems, and was essential in monitoring the Hound Dog missiles. The electronic countermeasures capability of the B-52 was expanded with Rivet Rambler (1971) and Rivet Ace (1973).[100]

To improve operations at low altitude, the AN/ASQ-151 Electro-Optical Viewing System (EVS), which consisted of a Low light level television (LLLTV) and a Forward looking infrared (FLIR) system mounted in blisters under the noses of B-52Gs and Hs between 1972 and 1976.[101] The navigational capabilities of the B-52 were later augmented with the addition of GPS in the 1980s.[102] The IBM AP-101, also used on the Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber and the Space Shuttle, was the B-52's main computer.[103]

In 2007 the LITENING targeting pod was fitted, which increased the effectiveness of the aircraft in the attack of ground targets with a variety of standoff weapons, using laser guidance, a high-resolution forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR), and a CCD camera used to obtain target imagery.[104] LITENING pods have been fitted to a wide variety of other US aircraft, such as the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II.[105]


The ability to carry up to 20 AGM-69 SRAM nuclear missiles was added to G and H models, starting in 1971.[106] To further improve its offensive ability, air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) were fitted.[107] After testing of both the Air Force-backed Boeing AGM-86 and the Navy-backed General Dynamics AGM-109 Tomahawk, the AGM-86B was selected for operation by the B-52 (and ultimately by the B-1 Lancer).[108] A total of 194 B-52Gs and Hs were modified to carry AGM-86s, carrying 12 missiles on underwing pylons, with 82 B-52Hs further modified to carry another eight missiles on a rotary launcher fitted in the bomb-bay. To conform with SALT II Treaty requirements that cruise missile-capable aircraft be readily identifiable by reconnaissance satellites, the cruise missile armed B-52Gs were modified with a distinctive wing root fairing. As all B-52Hs were assumed modified, no visual modification of these aircraft was required.[109] In 1990, the stealthy AGM-129 ACM cruise missile entered service; although intended to replace the AGM-86, a high cost and the Cold War's end led to only 450 being produced; unlike the AGM-86, no conventional (non-nuclear) version was built.[110] The B-52 was to have been modified to utilize Northrop Grumman's AGM-137 TSSAM weapon; however, the missile was canceled due to development costs.[111]

A B-52D with anti-flash white on the under side

Those B-52Gs not converted as cruise missile carriers underwent a series of modifications to improve conventional bombing. They were fitted with a new Integrated Conventional Stores Management System (ICSMS) and new underwing pylons that could hold larger bombs or other stores than could the external pylons. Thirty B-52Gs were further modified to carry up to 12 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles each, while 12 B-52Gs were fitted to carry the AGM-142 Have Nap stand-off air-to-ground missile.[112] When the B-52G was retired in 1994, an urgent scheme was launched to restore an interim Harpoon and Have Nap capability,[Note 4] the four aircraft being modified to carry Harpoon and four to carry Have Nap under the Rapid Eight program.[115]

The Conventional Enhancement Modification (CEM) program gave the B-52H a more comprehensive conventional weapons capability, adding the modified underwing weapon pylons used by conventional-armed B-52Gs, Harpoon and Have Nap, and the capability to carry new-generation weapons including the Joint Direct Attack Munition and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser guided bombs, the AGM-154 glide bomb and the AGM-158 JASSM missile. The CEM program also introduced new radios, integrated Global Positioning System into the aircraft's navigation system and replaced the under-nose FLIR with a more modern unit. Forty-seven B-52Hs were modified under the CEM program by 1996, with 19 more by the end of 1999.[116][117]

By around 2010, U.S. Strategic Command stopped assigning B61 and B83 nuclear gravity bombs to B-52, and later listed only the B-2 as tasked with delivering strategic nuclear bombs in budget requests. Nuclear gravity bombs were removed from the B-52's capabilities because it is no longer considered survivable enough to penetrate modern air defenses, instead relying on nuclear cruise missiles and focusing on expanding its conventional strike role.[118]

Starting in 2016, Boeing is to upgrade the internal rotary launchers to the MIL-STD-1760 interface to enable the internal carriage of smart bombs, which previously could only be carried on the wings.[119]

While the B-1 Lancer technically has a larger theoretical payload of 75,000 lb compared to the B-52's 70,000 payload, the aircraft are rarely able to carry their full loads, the most the B-52 carrying being a full load of AGM-86Bs totaling 62,660 lb. The B-1 has the internal weapons bay space to carry more GBU-31 JDAMs and JASSMs, but the B-52 upgraded with the conventional rotary launcher can carry more in other JDAM variants.[120]


USAF B-52H Stratofortress engines

The eight engines of the B-52 are paired in pods and suspended by four pylons beneath and forward of the wings' leading edge. The careful arrangement of the pylons also allowed them to work as wing fences and delay the onset of stall. The first two prototypes, XB-52 and YB-52, were both powered by experimental Pratt & Whitney YJ57-P-3 turbojet engines of 8,700 lbf (38.70 kN) of static thrust each.[99]

The B-52A models were equipped with Pratt & Whitney J57-P-1W turbojets, providing a dry thrust of 10,000 lbf (44.48 kN) which could be increased for short periods to 11,000 lbf (48.93 kN) with water injection. The water was carried in a 360-gallon tank in the rear fuselage.[121]

B-52B, C, D and E models were equipped with Pratt & Whitney J57-P-29W, J57-P-29WA, or J57-P-19W series engines all rated at 10,500 lbf (46.71 kN). The B-52F and G models were powered by Pratt & Whitney J57-P-43WB turbojets, each rated at 13,750 lbf (61.16 kN) static thrust with water injection.[121]

On May 9, 1961, B-52H started being delivered to the Air Force with cleaner burning and quieter Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3 turbofans with a maximum thrust of 17,100 lbf (76.06 kN).[99]

Engine retrofit

For a study for the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1970s, Boeing investigated replacing the engines, changing to a new wing, and other improvements to upgrade B-52G/H aircraft as an alternative to the B-1A, then in development.[122]

In 1982, Pratt & Whitney studied retrofitting B-52s with four Pratt & Whitney PW2000 (F117) engines, but this was not done, since all B-52s were to be replaced by B-1s and B-2s by the late 1990s. In 1996 Rolls-Royce and Boeing jointly proposed to fit B-52s with four leased Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines, but this plan failed because of Air Force resistance to leasing combat assets and a negative Air Force economic analysis which was later disputed as flawed.[123]

This would involve replacing the eight Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines (total thrust 8 × 17,000 lb) with four RB211 engines (total thrust 4 × 37,400 lb), which would increase range and reduce fuel consumption, at a cost of approximately US$2.56 billion for the whole fleet (71 aircraft at $36 million each). However, an Air Force analysis in 1997 concluded that Boeing's estimated savings of US$4.7 billion would not be realized and that re-engining would instead cost US$1.3 billion over keeping the existing engines, citing significant up-front procurement and re-tooling expenditure, as well as the RB211's higher maintenance cost.[124]

The Air Force's 1997 rejection of re-engining was subsequently disputed in a Defense Science Board (DSB) report in 2003. The DSB urged the Air Force to re-engine the aircraft without delay,[125] saying doing so would not only create significant cost savings, but reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase aircraft range and endurance; these conclusions were in line with the conclusions of a separate Congress-funded study conducted in 2003. Criticizing the Air Force cost analysis, the DSB found that among other things, the Air Force failed to account for the cost of aerial refueling; the DSB estimated that refueling in the air cost $17.50 per gallon, whereas the Air Force had failed to account for the cost of fuel delivery and so had only priced fuel at $1.20 per gallon.[126]

As the TF33 overhaul cost tripled in a decade, a joint Boeing/USAF study in 2003 recommended a $4–4.7 billion re-engining, allowing $11–15 billion cost savings while increasing B-52H combat range by 22% and tripling loiter time on station, proposing a competition between the RB211, PW2000, and eight CFM56 engines financed by an Energy Savings Performance Contract.[127]

In 2014, the U.S. Air Force was reviewing industry studies of engine replacement. As of 2014, the engine retrofit has not been approved. In late 2014, it was reported that the DOD and unnamed private companies were exploring a leasing program where private lease companies would purchase new engines and lease them to the USAF. DOD costs would be determined by depreciation and actual usage with no up-front lump payments.[123] In 2018, the USAF proposed another plan to re-engine the B-52, known as the Commercial Engine Re-engining Program (CERP). A request for proposals is planned for mid-2019, with service entry by 2024. Possible contender engines to replace the TF-33 including the General Electric TF34, the General Electric Passport, the Pratt & Whitney PW815 and the Rolls-Royce BR725.[128][129]


Costs per aircraft. US dollars
X/YB-52 B-52A B-52B B-52C B-52D B-52E B-52F B-52G B-52H
Unit R&D cost 100 million (1955)
1,137 million (current)
Airframe 26.433 M (1955) 11.328 M (1955) 5.359 M (1955) 4.654 M (1955) 3.700 M (1955) 3.772 M (1955) 5.352 M (1955) 6.076 M (1955)
Engines 2.848 M (1955) 2.547 M (1955) 1.513 M (1955) 1.291 M (1955) 1.257 M (1955) 1.787 M (1955) 1.428 M (1955) 1.640 M (1955)
Electronics 50,761 (1955) 61,198 (1955) 71,397 (1955) 68,613 (1955) 54,933 (1955) 60,111 (1955) 66,374 (1955) 61,020 (1955)
Armament and
57,067 (1955)
649,075 (current)
494 K (1955)
5.62 M (current)
304 K (1955)
3.46 M (current)
566 K (1955)
6.441 M (current)
936 K (1955)
10.65 M (current)
866 K (1955)
9.85 M (current)
847 K (1955)
9.63 M (current)
1.508 M (1955)
17.1 M (current)
Flyaway cost 28.38 M (1955)
322.8 M (current)
14.43 M (1955)
164.1 M (current)
7.24 M (1955)
82.3 M (current)
6.58 M (1955)
74.8 M (current)
5.94 M (1955)
67.6 M (current)
6.48 M (1955)
74.8 M (current)
7.69 M (1955)
87.5 M (current)
9.29 M (1955)
105.7 M (current)
Maintenance cost
per flying hour
925 (1955)
10,521 (current)
1,025 (1955)
11,658 (current)
1,025 (1955)
11,658 (current)
1,182 (1955)
13,444 (current)
Note: The original costs were in approximate 1955 United States dollars.[130] Figures in tables noted with current have been adjusted for inflation to the current calendar year.[30]

Operational history


Although the B-52A was the first production variant, these aircraft were used only in testing. The first operational version was the B-52B that had been developed in parallel with the prototypes since 1951. First flying in December 1954, B-52B, AF Serial Number 52-8711, entered operational service with 93rd Heavy Bombardment Wing (93rd BW) at Castle Air Force Base, California, on 29 June 1955. The wing became operational on 12 March 1956. The training for B-52 crews consisted of five weeks of ground school and four weeks of flying, accumulating 35 to 50 hours in the air. The new B-52Bs replaced operational B-36s on a one-to-one basis.[131]

Early operations were problematic;[132] in addition to supply problems, there were also technical issues.[133] Ramps and taxiways deteriorated under the aircraft's weight, the fuel system was prone to leaks and icing,[134] and bombing and fire control computers were unreliable.[133] The split level cockpit presented a temperature control problem – the pilots' cockpit was heated by sunlight while the observer and the navigator on the bottom deck sat on the ice-cold floor. Thus, a comfortable temperature setting for the pilots caused the other crew members to freeze, while a comfortable temperature for the bottom crew caused the pilots to overheat.[135] The J57 engines proved unreliable. Alternator failure caused the first fatal B-52 crash in February 1956;[136] as a result, the fleet was briefly grounded. In July, fuel and hydraulic issues grounded the B-52s again. In response to maintenance issues, the air force set up "Sky Speed" teams of 50 contractors at each B-52 base to perform maintenance and routine checkups, taking an average of one week per aircraft.[137]

Black-and-white photo of three B-52s parked close together facing left, as personnel on the ground prepare them for departure
Three B-52Bs of the 93rd Bomb Wing prepare to depart March AFB for Castle AFB, California, after their record-setting round-the-world flight in 1957.

On 21 May 1956, a B-52B (52-0013) dropped a Mk-15 nuclear bomb over the Bikini Atoll in a test code-named Cherokee. It was the first air-dropped thermonuclear weapon.[138] This aircraft now is on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM. From 24 to 25 November 1956, four B-52Bs of the 93rd BW and four B-52Cs of the 42nd BW flew nonstop around the perimeter of North America in Operation Quick Kick, which covered 15,530 miles (13,500 nmi, 25,000 km) in 31 hours, 30 minutes. SAC noted the flight time could have been reduced by 5 to 6 hours had the four inflight refuelings been done by fast jet-powered tanker aircraft rather than propeller-driven Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighters.[139] In a demonstration of the B-52's global reach, from 16 to 18 January 1957, three B-52Bs made a non-stop flight around the world during Operation Power Flite, during which 24,325 miles (21,145 nmi, 39,165 km) was covered in 45 hours 19 minutes (536.8 smph) with several in-flight refuelings by KC-97s.[140][Note 5]

The B-52 set many records over the next few years. On 26 September 1958, a B-52D set a world speed record of 560.705 miles per hour (487 kn, 902 km/h) over a 10,000 kilometers (5,400 nmi, 6,210 mi) closed circuit without a payload. The same day, another B-52D established a world speed record of 597.675 miles per hour (519 kn, 962 km/h) over a 5,000 kilometer (2,700 nmi, 3,105 mi) closed circuit without a payload.[91] On 14 December 1960, a B-52G set a world distance record by flying unrefueled for 10,078.84 miles (8,762 nmi, 16,227 km); the flight lasted 19 hours 44 minutes (510.75 mph).[141] From 10 to 11 January 1962, a B-52H (60-0040) set a world distance record by flying unrefueled, surpassing the prior B-52 record set two years earlier, from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, to Torrejón Air Base, Spain, which covered 12,532.28 miles (10,895 nmi, 20,177 km).[63][142] The flight passed over Seattle, Fort Worth and the Azores.

Cold War

Main article: Cold War

Diagram of the route that nuclear bomb-carrying B-52s would take to enemy countries. It follows the Mediterranean Sea, and passes over Italy before turning north over the Adriatic Sea.
Southerly route of the Operation Chrome Dome airborne nuclear alert

When the B-52 entered into service, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) intended to use it to deter and counteract the vast and modernizing Soviet military. As the Soviet Union increased its nuclear capabilities, destroying or "countering" the forces that would deliver nuclear strikes (bombers, missiles, etc.) became of great strategic importance.[143] The Eisenhower administration endorsed this switch in focus; the President in 1954 expressing a preference for military targets over civilian ones, a principle reinforced in the Single Integrated Operation Plan (SIOP), a plan of action in the case of nuclear war breaking out.[144]

Throughout the Cold War, B-52s and other US strategic bombers performed airborne alert patrols under code names such as Head Start, Chrome Dome, Hard Head, Round Robin and Giant Lance. Bombers loitered at high altitude near the borders of the Soviet Union to provide rapid first strike or retaliation capability in case of nuclear war.[145] These airborne patrols formed one component of the US's nuclear deterrent, which would act to prevent the breakout of a large-scale war between the US and the Soviet Union under the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.[146]

Due to the late 1950s-era threat of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that could threaten high-altitude aircraft,[147][148] seen in practice in the 1960 U-2 incident,[149] the intended use of B-52 was changed to serve as a low-level penetration bomber during a foreseen attack upon the Soviet Union, as terrain masking provided an effective method of avoiding radar and thus the threat of the SAMs.[150] Although never intended for the low level role, the B-52's flexibility allowed it to outlast several intended successors as the nature of aerial warfare changed. The B-52's large airframe enabled the addition of multiple design improvements, new equipment, and other adaptations over its service life.[100]

In November 1959, to improve the aircraft's combat capabilities in the changing strategic environment, SAC initiated the Big Four modification program (also known as Modification 1000) for all operational B-52s except early B models.[89][150] The program was completed by 1963.[151] The four modifications were the ability to launch AGM-28 Hound Dog standoff nuclear missiles and ADM-20 Quail decoys, an advanced electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite, and upgrades to perform the all-weather, low-altitude (below 500 feet or 150 m) interdiction mission in the face of advancing Soviet missile-based air defenses.[151]

In the 1960s, there were concerns over the fleet's capable lifespan. Several projects beyond the B-52, the Convair B-58 Hustler and North American XB-70 Valkyrie, had either been aborted or proved disappointing in light of changing requirements, which left the older B-52 as the main bomber as opposed to the planned successive aircraft models.[152][153] On 19 February 1965, General Curtis E. LeMay testified to Congress that the lack of a follow-up bomber project to the B-52 raised the danger that, "The B-52 is going to fall apart on us before we can get a replacement for it."[154] Other aircraft, such as the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark, later complemented the B-52 in roles the aircraft was not as capable in, such as missions involving high-speed, low-level penetration dashes.[155]

Vietnam War

See also: Vietnam War

Soviet specialists inspect the wreckage of the B-52 Stratofortress shot down near Hanoi on 23 December 1972

With the escalating situation in Southeast Asia, 28 B-52Fs were fitted with external racks for 24× 750 lb (340 kg) bombs under project South Bay in June 1964; an additional 46 aircraft received similar modifications under project Sun Bath.[72] In March 1965, the United States commenced Operation Rolling Thunder. The first combat mission, Operation Arc Light, was flown by B-52Fs on 18 June 1965, when 30 bombers of the 9th and 441st Bombardment Squadrons struck a communist stronghold near the Bến Cát District in South Vietnam. The first wave of bombers arrived too early at a designated rendezvous point, and while maneuvering to maintain station, two B-52s collided, which resulted in the loss of both bombers and eight crewmen. The remaining bombers, minus one more that turned back due to mechanical problems, continued towards the target.[156] Twenty-seven Stratofortresses dropped on a one-mile by two-mile target box from between 19,000 and 22,000 feet, a little more than 50% of the bombs fell within the target zone.[157] The force returned to Andersen AFB except for one bomber with electrical problems that recovered to Clark AFB, the mission having lasted 13 hours. Post-strike assessment by teams of South Vietnamese troops with American advisors found evidence that the Viet Cong had departed from the area before the raid, and it was suspected that infiltration of the south's forces may have tipped off the north because of the South Vietnamese Army troops involved in the post-strike inspection.[158]

Against a blue sky with white clouds, a B-52F releases bombs over Vietnam.
B-52F dropping bombs on Vietnam

Beginning in late 1965, a number of B-52Ds underwent Big Belly modifications to increase bomb capacity for carpet bombings.[159] While the external payload remained at 24 of 500 lb (227 kg) or 750 lb (340 kg) bombs, the internal capacity increased from 27 to 84 for 500 lb bombs, or from 27 to 42 for 750 lb bombs.[160] The modification created enough capacity for a total of 60,000 lb (27,215 kg) using 108 bombs. Thus modified, B-52Ds could carry 22,000 lb (9,980 kg) more than B-52Fs.[161] Designed to replace B-52Fs, modified B-52Ds entered combat in April 1966 flying from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Each bombing mission lasted 10 to 12 hours and included an aerial refueling by KC-135 Stratotankers.[50] In spring 1967, B-52s began flying from U Tapao Airfield in Thailand so that refueling was not required.[160]

B-52s was employed during the Battle of Ia Drang in November 1965, notable as the aircraft's first use in a tactical support role.[162]

The B-52s were restricted to bombing suspected Communist bases in relatively uninhabited sections, because their potency approached that of a tactical nuclear weapon. A formation of six B-52s, dropping their bombs from 30,000 feet, could "take out"... almost everything within a "box" approximately five-eighths mile wide by two miles long. Whenever Arc Light struck ... in the vicinity of Saigon, the city woke from the tremor..

Neil Sheehan, war correspondent, writing before the mass attacks on heavily populated cities including North Vietnam's capital.[163]

On 22 November 1972, a B-52D (55-0110) from U-Tapao was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) while on a raid over Vinh. The crew was forced to abandon the damaged aircraft over Thailand. This was the first B-52 destroyed by hostile fire.[164]

The zenith of B-52 attacks in Vietnam was Operation Linebacker II (sometimes referred to as the Christmas Bombing), conducted from 18 to 29 December 1972, which consisted of waves of B-52s (mostly D models, but some Gs without jamming equipment and with a smaller bomb load). Over 12 days, B-52s flew 729 sorties[165] and dropped 15,237 tons of bombs on Hanoi, Haiphong, and other targets.[102][166] Originally 42 B-52s were committed to the war; however, numbers were frequently twice this figure.[167] During Operation Linebacker II, fifteen B-52s were shot down, five were heavily damaged (one crashed in Laos), and five suffered medium damage. A total of 25 crewmen were killed in these losses.[168] North Vietnam claimed 34 B-52s were shot down.[169]

During the war 31 B-52s were lost, including 10 shot down over North Vietnam.[170] Of the losses, 17 were shot down in combat operations, one was a write-off because of combat damage, 11 crashed by accidents, 1 decommissioned because of combat damage, and 1 burned at the airport. However, some of the "crashed in flight accidents" crashed due to missiles or anti-aircraft guns. When landing at an airfield in Thailand one B-52 was heavily damaged by SAM, rolled off the runway and was then blown up by mines installed around the airfield to protect against guerrillas; only one crewman survived. Subsequently, this B-52 was counted as a "crashed in flight accidents".[171][verification needed]

Air-to-air combat

Tail armament of a B-52G, Hill Aerospace Museum

During the Vietnam War, B-52D tail gunners were credited with shooting down two MiG-21 "Fishbeds". On 18 December 1972 tail gunner Staff Sergeant Samuel O. Turner's B-52 had just completed a bomb run for Operation Linebacker II and was turning away, when a North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-21 approached.[172] The MiG and the B-52 locked onto each other. When the fighter drew within range, Turner fired his quad (four guns on one mounting) .50 caliber machine guns.[173] The MiG exploded aft of the bomber,[172] as confirmed by Master Sergeant Louis E. Le Blanc, the tail gunner in a nearby Stratofortress. Turner received a Silver Star for his actions.[174] His B-52, tail number 56-0676, is preserved on display with air-to-air kill markings at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.[172]

On 24 December 1972, during the same bombing campaign, the B-52 Diamond Lil was headed to bomb the Thái Nguyên railroad yards when tail gunner Airman First Class Albert E. Moore spotted a fast-approaching MiG-21.[175] Moore opened fire with his quad .50 caliber guns at 4,000 yd (3,700 m), and kept shooting until the fighter disappeared from his scope. Technical Sergeant Clarence W. Chute, a tail gunner aboard another Stratofortress, watched the MiG catch fire and fall away;[173] this was not confirmed by the VPAF.[176] Diamond Lil is preserved on display at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.[175] Moore was the last bomber gunner believed to have shot down an enemy aircraft with machine guns in aerial combat.[173]

However, two B-52 tail gunner kills were not confirmed by VPAF, and they admitted to the loss of only three MiGs, all by F-4s.[176] Vietnamese sources have attributed a third air-to-air victory to a B-52, a MiG-21 shot down on 16 April 1972.[177] These victories make the B-52 the largest aircraft credited with air-to-air kills.[Note 6] The last Arc Light mission without fighter escort took place on 15 August 1973, as U.S. military action in Southeast Asia was wound down.[178]

Post-Vietnam War service

B-52Bs reached the end of their structural service life by the mid-1960s and all were retired by June 1966, followed by the last of the B-52Cs on 29 September 1971; except for NASA's B-52B "008" which was eventually retired in 2004 at Edwards AFB, California.[179] Another of the remaining B Models, "005" is on display at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, Colorado.[180]

Aerial view of B-52 fly above white clouds and the sea. It carries two triangular-shaped vehicles under the wings between the fuselage and inboard engines.
B-52H modified to carry two Lockheed D-21B drones

A few time-expired E models were retired in 1967 and 1968, but the bulk (82) were retired between May 1969 and March 1970. Most F models were also retired between 1967 and 1973, but 23 survived as trainers until late 1978. The fleet of D models served much longer; 80 D models were extensively overhauled under the Pacer Plank program during the mid-1970s.[181] Skinning on the lower wing and fuselage was replaced, and various structural components were renewed. The fleet of D models stayed largely intact until late 1978, when 37 not already upgraded Ds were retired.[182] The remainder were retired between 1982 and 1983.[183]

The remaining G and H models were used for nuclear standby ("alert") duty as part of the United States' nuclear triad, the combination of nuclear-armed land-based missiles, submarine-based missiles and manned bombers. The B-1, intended to supplant the B-52, replaced only the older models and the supersonic FB-111.[184] In 1991, B-52s ceased continuous 24-hour SAC alert duty.[185]

After Vietnam the experience of operations in a hostile air defense environment was taken into account. Due to this B-52s were modernized with new weapons, equipment and both offensive and defensive avionics. This and the use of low-level tactics marked a major shift in the B-52's utility. The upgrades were:

These modifications increased weight by nearly 24,000 pounds, and decreased operational range by 8–11%. This was considered acceptable for the increase in capabilities.[186][verification needed]

After the fall of the Soviet Union, all B-52Gs remaining in service were destroyed in accordance with the terms of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMRC) cut the 365 B-52s into pieces. Completion of the destruction task was verified by Russia via satellite and first-person inspection at the AMARC facility.[187]

Gulf War and later

See also: Gulf War

Aerial view of B-52s and other aircraft slowly being scrapped in the desert.
Retired B-52s are stored at the 309th AMARG (formerly AMARC), a desert storage facility often called the "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, Arizona.[188]

B-52 strikes were an important part of Operation Desert Storm. Starting on 16 January 1991, a flight of B-52Gs flew from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, refueled in the air en route, struck targets in Iraq, and returned home – a journey of 35 hours and 14,000 miles (23,000 km) round trip. It set a record for longest-distance combat mission, breaking the record previously held by an RAF Vulcan bomber in 1982; however, this was achieved using forward refueling.[189][190] Those seven B-52s flew the first combat sorties of Operation Desert Storm, firing 35 AGM-86C CALCMs standoff missiles and successfully destroying 85–95 percent of their targets.[191] B-52Gs operating from the King Abdullah Air Base at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, Morón Air Base, Spain, and the island of Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory flew bombing missions over Iraq, initially at low altitude. After the first three nights, the B-52s moved to high-altitude missions instead, which reduced their effectiveness and psychological impact compared to the low altitude role initially played.[192]

The conventional strikes were carried out by three bombers, which dropped up to 153 750-pound bombs over an area of 1.5 by 1 mi (2.4 by 1.6 km). The bombings demoralized the defending Iraqi troops, many of whom surrendered in the wake of the strikes.[193] In 1999, the science and technology magazine Popular Mechanics described the B-52's role in the conflict: "The Buff's value was made clear during the Gulf War and Desert Fox. The B-52 turned out the lights in Baghdad."[194] During Operation Desert Storm, B-52s flew about 1,620 sorties, and delivered 40% of the weapons dropped by coalition forces.[195]

During the conflict, several claims of Iraqi air-to-air successes were made, including an Iraqi pilot, Khudai Hijab, who allegedly fired a Vympel R-27R missile from his MIG-29 and damaged a B-52G on the opening night of the Gulf War.[196] However, the U.S. Air Force disputes this claim, stating the bomber was actually hit by friendly fire, an AGM-88 High-speed, Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) that homed on the fire-control radar of the B-52's tail gun; the jet was subsequently renamed In HARM's Way.[197] Shortly following this incident, General George Lee Butler announced that the gunner position on B-52 crews would be eliminated, and the gun turrets permanently deactivated, commencing on 1 October 1991.[198]

Since the mid-1990s, the B-52H has been the only variant remaining in military service;[Note 7] it is currently stationed at:

From 2 to 3 September 1996, two B-52H bombers conducted a mission as part of Operation Desert Strike. The B-52s struck Baghdad power stations and communications facilities with 13 AGM-86C conventional air-launched cruise missiles (CALCM) during a 34-hour, 16,000-mile round trip mission from Andersen AFB, Guam – the longest distance ever flown for a combat mission.[200]

A B-52H Stratofortress of the 2d Bomb Wing takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

On 24 March 1999, when Operation Allied Force began, B-52 bombers bombarded Serb targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including during the Battle of Kosare.[201]

The B-52 contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 (Afghanistan/Southwest Asia), providing the ability to loiter high above the battlefield and provide Close Air Support (CAS) through the use of precision guided munitions, a mission which previously would have been restricted to fighter and ground attack aircraft.[202] In late 2001, ten B-52s dropped a third of the bomb tonnage in Afghanistan.[203] B-52s also played a role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which commenced on 20 March 2003 (Iraq/Southwest Asia). On the night of 21 March 2003, B-52Hs launched at least one hundred AGM-86C CALCMs at targets within Iraq.[204]

B-52 and maritime operations

The B-52 can be highly effective for ocean surveillance, and can assist the Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. For example, a pair of B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometers) of ocean surface. During 2018 Baltops exercise B-52s have conducted mine-laying missions off the coasts of Sweden, simulating a counter-amphibious invasion mission in the Baltic.[205][206]

All this started in the 1970s, when US Navy worried that combined attack from Soviet bombers, submarines and warships could overwhelm its defenses and sink its aircraft carriers. After Falklands war US planners feared the damage that could be created by 200-mile-range missiles carried by Backfire bombers and 250-mile-range missiles carried by Soviet surface ships. New US Navy's maritime strategy in early 1980s called for aggressive use of carriers and surface action groups against the Soviet navy. To help protect the carrier battle groups, some B-52G were modified to fire Harpoon anti-ship missiles. These bombers were based at Guam and Maine from later 1970s in order to support both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. In case of war B-52s would coordinate with tanker support and surveillance by AWACS and Navy planes. B-52Gs could strike Soviet navy targets on the flanks of the US carrier battle groups, leaving them free to concentrate on offensive strikes against Soviet surface combatants. Mines laid down by B-52s could establish mine fields in significant enemy choke points (mainly Kurile islands and GIUK). These minefields would force the Soviet fleet to disperse, making individual ships more vulnerable to Harpoon attacks.[207][208]

From the 1980s B-52Hs were modified to use Harpoons in addition to a wide range of cruise missiles, laser- and satellite-guided bombs and unguided munitions. B-52 bomber crews honed sea-skimming flight profiles that should allow them to penetrate stiff enemy defenses and attack Soviet ships.[209][210][211]

Recent expansion and modernization of China's navy has caused B-52s to dust off abilities for finding and attacking ships. Quite recently B-52 fleet has been certified to use Quickstrike family of naval mines using JDAM-ER guided wing kits. This weapon will give the ability to lay down minefields over wide areas, in a single pass, with extreme accuracy, and all while standing-off at over 40 miles away. Besides this, with a view to enhance B-52 maritime patrol and strike performance, an AN/ASQ-236 Dragon's Eye underwing pod, has also been certified for use by B-52H bombers. Dragon's Eye contains an advanced electronically-scanned array radar that will allow B-52s to quickly scan vast Pacific Ocean areas, so finding and sinking enemy ships will be easier for them. This radar will complement Litening infrared targeting pod already used by B-52s for inspecting ships.[212][213]

Recent service

A B-52 taking off from Tinker AFB
B-52 in Australian airshow 2011

In August 2007, a B-52H ferrying AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base for dismantling was mistakenly loaded with six missiles with their nuclear warheads. The weapons did not leave USAF custody and were secured at Barksdale.[214][215]

Four of 18 B-52Hs from Barksdale AFB were retired and were in the "boneyard" of 309th AMARG at Davis-Monthan AFB as of 8 September 2008.[216]

As of January 2013, 78 of the original 744 B-52 aircraft were operational in the U.S. Air Force.[217]

B-52s are periodically refurbished at USAF maintenance depots such as Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.[218] Even while the Air Force works on a new bomber, it intends to keep the B-52H in service until 2045, nearly 90 years after the B-52 first entered service, an unprecedented length of service for any aircraft, civilian or military.[195][219][220][221][Note 8]

The USAF continues to rely on the B-52 because it remains an effective and economical heavy bomber in the absence of sophisticated air defenses, particularly in the type of missions that have been conducted since the end of the Cold War against nations with limited defensive capabilities. The B-52 has also continued in service because there has been no reliable replacement.[223] The B-52 has the capacity to "loiter" for extended periods, and can deliver precision standoff and direct fire munitions from a distance, in addition to direct bombing. It has been a valuable asset in supporting ground operations during conflicts such as Operation Iraqi Freedom.[224] The B-52 had the highest mission capable rate of the three types of heavy bombers operated by the USAF in the 2000–2001 period. The B-1 averaged a 53.7% ready rate, the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit achieved 30.3%, while the B-52 averaged 80.5%.[188] The B-52's $72,000 cost per hour of flight is more than the B-1B's $63,000 cost per hour, but less than the B-2's $135,000 per hour.[225]

The Long Range Strike Bomber program is intended to yield a stealthy successor for the B-52 and B-1 that would begin service in the 2020s; it is intended to produce 80 to 100 aircraft. Two competitors, Northrop Grumman and a joint team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, submitted proposals in 2014;[226] Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract in October 2015.[227]

On 12 November 2015, the B-52 began freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea in response to Chinese man-made islands in the region. Chinese forces, claiming jurisdiction within a 12-mile exclusion zone of the islands, ordered the bombers to leave the area, but they refused, not recognizing jurisdiction.[228] On 10 January 2016, a B-52 overflew parts of South Korea escorted by South Korean F-15Ks and U.S. F-16s in response to the supposed test of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea.[229]

On 9 April 2016, an undisclosed number of B-52s arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, part of the Military intervention against ISIL. The B-52s took over heavy bombing after B-1 Lancers that had been conducting airstrikes rotated out of the region in January 2016.[230] In April 2016, B-52s arrived in Afghanistan to take part in the War in Afghanistan and began operations in July, proving its flexibility and precision carrying out close-air support missions.[231]

According to a statement by the U.S. military, an undisclosed number of B-52s participated in the U.S. strikes on pro-government forces in eastern Syria on 7 February 2018.[232]


Production numbers[1]
Variant Produced Entered Service
XB-52 2
(1 redesignated YB-52)
YB-52 1 modified XB-52 prototype
B-52A 3
(1 redesignated NB-52A)
test units
NB-52A 1 modified B-52A
B-52B 50 29 June 1955
RB-52B 27 Modified B-52Bs
NB-52B 1 Modified B-52B
B-52C 35 June 1956
B-52D 170 December 1956
B-52E 100 December 1957
B-52F 89 June 1958
B-52G 193 13 February 1959
B-52H 102 9 May 1961
Grand total 744 production

The B-52 went through several design changes and variants over its 10 years of production.[130]

Two prototype aircraft with limited operational equipment, used for aerodynamic and handling tests
One XB-52 modified with some operational equipment and re-designated
Only three of the first production version, the B-52A, were built, all loaned to Boeing for flight testing.[50] The first production B-52A differed from prototypes in having a redesigned forward fuselage. The bubble canopy and tandem seating was replaced by a side-by-side arrangement and a 21 in (53 cm) nose extension accommodated more avionics and a new sixth crew member.[Note 9] In the rear fuselage, a tail turret with four 0.50 inch (12.7 mm) machine guns with a fire-control system, and a water injection system to augment engine power with a 360 US gallon (1,363 L) water tank were added. The aircraft also carried a 1,000 US gallon (3,785 L) external fuel tank under each wing. The tanks damped wing flutter and also kept wingtips close to the ground for ease of maintenance.[233]
NB-52A carrying an X-15
The last B-52A (serial 52-0003) was modified and redesignated NB-52A in 1959 to carry the North American X-15. A pylon was fitted under the right wing between the fuselage and the inboard engines with a 6 feet x 8 feet (1.8 m x 2.4 m) section removed from the right wing flap to fit the X-15 tail. Liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide tanks were installed in the bomb bays to fuel the X-15 before launch. Its first flight with the X-15 was on 19 March 1959, with the first launch on 8 June 1959. The NB-52A, named "The High and Mighty One" carried the X-15 on 93 of the program's 199 flights.[234]
NASA's NB-52B Balls 8 (lower) and its replacement B-52H on the flight line at Edwards Air Force Base in 2004

The B-52B was the first version to enter service with the USAF on 29 June 1955 with the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle AFB, California.[233] This version included minor changes to engines and avionics, enabling an extra 12,000 pounds of thrust using water injection.[235] Temporary grounding of the aircraft after a crash in February 1956 and again the following July caused training delays, and at mid-year there were still no combat-ready B-52 crews.[136]

Of the 50 B-52Bs built, 27 were capable of carrying a reconnaissance pod as RB-52Bs (the crew was increased to eight in these aircraft).[50] The 300 pound (136 kg) pod contained radio receivers, a combination of K-36, K-38, and T-11 cameras, and two operators on downward-firing ejection seats. The pod required only four hours to install.[136]
Seven B-52Bs were brought to B-52C standard under Project Sunflower.[236]
The NB-52B was B-52B number 52-0008 converted to an X-15 launch platform. It subsequently flew as "Balls 8" in support of NASA research until 17 December 2004, making it the oldest flying B-52B. It was replaced by a modified B-52H.[237]
The B-52C's fuel capacity (and range) was increased to 41,700 US gallons by adding larger 3000 US gallon underwing fuel tanks. The gross weight was increased by 30,000 pounds (13,605 kg) to 450,000 pounds. A new fire control system, the MD-9, was introduced on this model.[163] The belly of the aircraft was painted with antiflash white paint, which was intended to reflect the thermal radiation of a nuclear detonation.[238]
The RB-52C was the designation initially given to B-52Cs fitted for reconnaissance duties in a similar manner to RB-52Bs. As all 35 B-52Cs could be fitted with the reconnaissance pod, the RB-52C designation was little used and was quickly abandoned.[238]
B-52D dropping 500-lb bombs
The B-52D was a dedicated long-range bomber without a reconnaissance option. The Big Belly modifications allowed the B-52D to carry heavy loads of conventional bombs for carpet bombing over Vietnam,[235] while the Rivet Rambler modification added the Phase V ECM systems, which was better than the systems used on most later B-52s. Because of these upgrades and its long range capabilities, the D model was used more extensively in Vietnam than any other model.[163] Aircraft assigned to Vietnam were painted in a camouflage colour scheme with black bellies to defeat searchlights.[70]
The B-52E received an updated avionics and bombing navigational system, which was eventually debugged and included on following models.[235]
One E aircraft (AF Serial No. 56-0632) was modified as a testbed for various B-52 systems. Redesignated NB-52E, the aircraft was fitted with canards and a Load Alleviation and Mode Stabilization system (LAMS) which reduced airframe fatigue from wind gusts during low level flight. In one test, the aircraft flew 10 knots (11.5 mph, 18.5 km/h) faster than the never exceed speed without damage because the canards eliminated 30% of vertical and 50% of horizontal vibrations caused by wind gusts.[239][240][241]
One aircraft leased by General Electric to test TF39 and CF6 engines.[citation needed]
This aircraft was given J57-P-43W engines with a larger capacity water injection system to provide greater thrust than previous models.[235] This model had problems with fuel leaks which were eventually solved by several service modifications: Blue Band, Hard Shell, and QuickClip.[93]
B-52G on static display at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia
The B-52G was proposed to extend the B-52's service life during delays in the B-58 Hustler program. At first, a radical redesign was envisioned with a completely new wing and Pratt & Whitney J75 engines. This was rejected to avoid slowdowns in production, although a large number of changes were implemented.[235] The most significant of these was a new "wet" wing with integral fuel tanks, increasing gross aircraft weight by 38,000 pounds (17,235 kg). In addition, a pair of 700 US gallon (2,650 L) external fuel tanks were fitted under the wings on wet hardpoints.[242] The traditional ailerons were also eliminated, and instead, spoilers provided roll control. The tail fin was shortened by 8 feet (2.4 m), water injection system capacity was increased to 1,200 US gallons (4,540 L), and the nose radome was enlarged.[243] The tail gunner was relocated to the main cockpit and was provided with an ejection seat.[242] Dubbed the "Battle Station" concept, the offensive crew (pilot and copilot on the upper deck and the two bombing navigation system operators on the lower deck) faced forward, while the defensive crew (tail gunner and ECM operator) on the upper deck faced aft.[163] The B-52G entered service on 13 February 1959 (a day earlier, the last B-36 was retired, making SAC an all-jet bomber force). 193 B-52Gs were produced, making this the most produced B-52 variant. Most B-52Gs were destroyed in compliance with the 1992 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; the last B-52G, number 58-0224, was dismantled under New START treaty requirements in December 2013.[244] A few examples remain on display for museums.[245]
The B-52H had the same crew and structural changes as the B-52G. The most significant upgrade was the switch to TF33-P-3 turbofan engines which, despite the initial reliability problems (corrected by 1964 under the Hot Fan program), offered considerably better performance and fuel economy than the J57 turbojets.[163][243] The ECM and avionics were updated, a new fire control system was fitted, and the rear defensive armament was changed from machine guns to a 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon (later removed in 1991–94).[242] The final 18 aircraft were manufactured with provision for the ADR-8 countermeasures rocket, which was later retrofitted to the remainder of the B-52G and B-52H fleet.[246] A provision was made for four GAM-87 Skybolt ballistic missiles. The aircraft's first flight occurred on 10 July 1960, and it entered service on 9 May 1961. This is the only variant still in use by the USAF.[3] A total of 102 B-52Hs were built. The last production aircraft, B-52H AF Serial No. 61-0040, left the factory on 26 October 1962.[247]
Allocated to the reconnaissance variant of the B-52B but not used. The aircraft were designated RB-52B instead.[248]


Main article: List of B-52 Units of the United States Air Force

United States

United States Air Force 76 aircraft in service as of February 2015[249]

Air Combat Command

49th Test and Evaluation Squadron (Barksdale)

340th Weapons Squadron (Barksdale)
Air Force Global Strike Command
11th Bomb Squadron
20th Bomb Squadron
96th Bomb Squadron
23d Bomb Squadron
69th Bomb Squadron
Air Force Materiel Command
419th Flight Test Squadron
Air Force Reserve Command
93d Bomb Squadron
343d Bomb Squadron

Notable accidents

See also: Category:Accidents and incidents involving the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

A big metallic cylinder standing upright in a field next to a tree.
One of the two MK 39 nuclear bombs involved in the 1961 Goldsboro crash after soft landing with parachute deployed. The weapon was recovered intact after three of the four stages of the arming sequence were completed.

Aircraft on display

See also: List of displayed Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Specifications (B-52H)

B-52H profile, circa 1987
Boeing B-52H static display with weapons, Barksdale AFB 2006. A second B-52H can be seen in flight in the background

Data from Knaack,[264] USAF fact sheet,[195] Quest for Performance[265]

General characteristics




Notable appearances in media

Main article: Aircraft in fiction § B-52 Stratofortress

A 1960s hairstyle, the beehive, is also called a B-52 for its resemblance to the aircraft's distinctive nose.[268] The popular band the B-52's was subsequently named after this hairstyle.[268][269]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ "Fellow" is substituted for "Fuck" or "Fucker" in bowdlerized/sanitized versions of the acronym.[7]
  2. ^ Other aircraft with similarly long service include the English Electric Canberra, Tupolev Tu-95, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, Lockheed P-3 Orion and Lockheed U-2.[9][10][11][12]
  3. ^ Quote:"Designing the B-29 had required 153,000 engineering hours; the B-52, 3,000,000."[54]
  4. ^ The Have Nap missile, carried only by the B-52, enabled stand-off attacks on targets while maintaining a "man-in-the-loop" guidance system capability.[113][114]
  5. ^ The 93rd Bomb Wing received the Mackay Trophy for accomplishing their round-the-world non-stop flight in January 1957.[138]
  6. ^ The following military aircraft are the only aircraft larger than the B-52 in some manner (parameter listed in parenthesis may not be the only figure that exceeds the corresponding parameter of the B-52) and possess an air-to-air capability; none has a combat kill: B-36 Peacemaker (wingspan), Convair YB-60 (wingspan), Ilyushin Il-76D (payload).
  7. ^ A B-52B, Balls 8, was in use by NASA, a civilian US government entity, until 17 December 2004.
  8. ^ At least one B-52 aviator's father and grandfather also flew the bomber.[222]
  9. ^ The electronic warfare officer sat behind the pilot facing to the rear.[233]


  1. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 291.
  2. ^ "Fact Sheet: B-52 Superfortress." Archived 18 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine Minot Air Force Base, United States Air Force, October 2005. Retrieved: 12 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b "B-52 Stratofortress". U.S. Air Force. U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  4. ^ "The Incredible 50-year-old Plane on the Front Lines of the North Korea Standoff".
  5. ^ "BUF." Wordorigins.org. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  6. ^ Discovery Channel, Wings, episode Instant Thunder (B-52 Stratofortress)
  7. ^ Flynn 1997, p. 138.
  8. ^ "B-52 Stratofortress – U.S. Air Force – Fact Sheet Display". af.mil.
  9. ^ "Возвращение летающего медведя (Return of the Flying Bear) in Russian." Lenta. 3 November 2009.
  10. ^ "RAAF C-130 Hercules – 50 Years of Outstanding Service." Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine defenseworld.net, 3 November 2008.
  11. ^ Lombardi, Michael. "The first KC-135 tanker aircraft rolled out 50 years ago this month." Boeing, July 2006.
  12. ^ Karl, Jonathan. "So high, so fast." ABC News, 17 August 2007. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  13. ^ a b c Greenwood 1995, p. 201.
  14. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 206–207.
  15. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 207.
  16. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 207–208.
  17. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 19.
  18. ^ a b Tagg 2004, p. 21.
  19. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 208.
  20. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 22.
  21. ^ a b Tagg 2004, p. 23.
  22. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 209.
  23. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 30.
  24. ^ a b Tagg 2004, p. 34.
  25. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 210.
  26. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 210–211.
  27. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 212.
  28. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 35–36.
  29. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 36–39.
  30. ^ a b 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  31. ^ Tagg 2004 pp. 40–44.
  32. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 213.
  33. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 45–47.
  34. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 44–45.
  35. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 214–215.
  36. ^ Baugher, Joe (30 June 2000). "Origin of the B-52". joebaugher.com. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  37. ^ Mandeles, Dr. Mark D. The Development of the B-52 and Jet Propulsion; A Case Study in Organizational Innovation. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, March 1998. LCCN 98014703
  38. ^ a b "B-52 Design: Dayton Hotel Birthplace of Jet-powered Bomber." Archived 29 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine Boeing, 11 April 2002. Retrieved: 3 August 2011.
  39. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 48–50.
  40. ^ Tagg 2004, pp. 58–59.
  41. ^ Knaack 1998, pp. 215–216.
  42. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 57.
  43. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 217–218.
  44. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 60.
  45. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 218.
  46. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 217–219.
  47. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 219.
  48. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 221.
  49. ^ Cooke 1956, pp. 24–28.
  50. ^ a b c d Donald 1997, pp. 161–162.
  51. ^ "The Boeing Logbook: 1952–1956 15 April 1952." Archived 20 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine Boeing. Retrieved: 13 August 2009.
  52. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 222.
  53. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 82.
  54. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 227.
  55. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 229.
  56. ^ a b c Knaack 1988, p. 230.
  57. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 241.
  58. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 247.
  59. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 258.
  60. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 262.
  61. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 269.
  62. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 280.
  63. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference knaack_p289 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  64. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 85.
  65. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 229–230.
  66. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 5.
  67. ^ Gunston Flight 1957, p. 776.
  68. ^ Lake International Air Power Review Spring 2003, pp. 117–121.
  69. ^ Bowers 1989, p. 379.
  70. ^ a b Lake International Air Power Review Summer 2003, pp. 100–101.
  71. ^ Lake International Air Power Review Summer 2003, p. 102.
  72. ^ a b Lake International Air Power Review Summer 2003, p. 103.
  73. ^ Gunston Flight 1957, p. 778.
  74. ^ a b Lake International Air Power Review, Summer 2003, p. 101.
  75. ^ Eden 2004, p. 71.
  76. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 91.
  77. ^ "USAF Radar Jamming Technology." Proxify.org. Retrieved: 9 April 2010.
  78. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "US Air Force cancels SAM-jamming EB-52 for second time." Flight International, 3 March 2009.
  79. ^ a b "Air Force Begins Massive B-52 Overhaul." DoDBuzz.com, 12 July 2013.
  80. ^ Osborn, Kris (6 March 2018). "Meet the 'New' B-52 Bomber: How This Old Plane Can Drop Even More Bombs". The National Interest.
  81. ^ USAF B-52 Bomber Internal Weapons Bay to Increase its Capability – Deagel.com, 23 September 2013
  82. ^ Ray, Mike W. "B-52 upgrade to increase smart-weapons capacity" Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Air Force Global Strike Command, 8 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  83. ^ Szondy, David. "The B-52 gets upgraded weapons bay" – Gizmag.com, 23 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  84. ^ Osborn, Kris (7 February 2017). "U.S. Air Force Scientists are Working to Arm the B-52 Bomber with Laser Weapons".
  85. ^ Tegler 2000, p. xiii.
  86. ^ Tegler 2000, pp. 84–85.
  87. ^ Higham 2005, pp. 43–44.
  88. ^ Tinker, Frank A. "Who Will Bell the Invisible CAT?" Popular Mechanics (Hearst Magazines); August 1969. pp. 94–97.
  89. ^ a b Tagg 2004, p. 87.
  90. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 254–255.
  91. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 259.
  92. ^ a b Knaack 1988, pp. 276–277.
  93. ^ a b Knaack 1988, pp. 266–267.
  94. ^ Sorenson, David (1995). The Politics of Strategic Aircraft Modernization. Praeger. p. 127. ISBN 978-0275952587.
  95. ^ a b c Zamorano, Marti, "B-52 synthetic fuel testing: Center commander pilots first Air Force B-52 flight using solely synthetic fuel blend in all eight engines." Aerotech News and Review, 22 December 2006.
  96. ^ Hernandez, Jason, "SECAF certifies synthetic fuel blends for B-52H." Aerotech News and Review, 10 August 2007.
  97. ^ a b c d Abzug, Malcolm J.; Larrabee, E. Eugene (2002). Airplane Stability And control, Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 105–108. ISBN 978-0-521-80992-4.
  98. ^ "B-52 Stratofortress Design". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  99. ^ a b c d Bento Silva de Mattos. "Boeing B-52 Stratofortress". Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  100. ^ a b Knaack 1988, pp. 279–280.
  101. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, pp. 41–43.
  102. ^ a b Condor, 1994, p. 38.
  103. ^ a b "Computers in Spaceflight: The NASA Experience." NASA. Retrieved: 2 October 2011.
  104. ^ Hopper, David. "Upgraded B-52 Still on Cutting Edge." Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine WSTIAC, 31 April 2008. Retrieved: 17 July 2010.
  105. ^ Neuenswander, David. "Joint Laser Interoperability, Tomorrow's Answer to Precision Engagement." Archived 13 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine Air & Space Power Journal, 28 June 2001.
  106. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 277–278.
  107. ^ Tagg 2004, p. 89.
  108. ^ Polmar 2005, p. 529.
  109. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, pp. 44–45.
  110. ^ Dorr and Rogers 1996, pp. 65–66.
  111. ^ Polmar 2005, p. 532.
  112. ^ Lake International Air Power Review Summer 2003, pp. 108–109.
  113. ^ Dorr and Rogers 1996, pp. 78–79.
  114. ^ Lake Air International May 2001, p. 290.
  115. ^ Lake International Air Power Review Summer 2003, p. 114.
  116. ^ Lake Air International May 2001, pp. 290–291.
  117. ^ Dorr and Rogers 1996, pp. 81–82.
  118. ^ B-52 Bomber No Longer Delivers Nuclear Gravity Bombs. Federation of American Scientists. 25 May 2017.
  119. ^ Raatz, Joseph (20 September 2013). "Upgrade gives B-52 more teeth". af.mil. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  120. ^ To Make Way for Future Bomber, AF Plans to Retire B-1, B-2 in 2030s. Military.com. 12 February 2018.
  121. ^ a b "Boeing B-52 Stratofortress High-Altitude Long-Range Strategic Heavy Bomber". militaryfactory.com. 16 September 2015.
  122. ^ Jenkins 1999, p. 39.
  123. ^ a b "B-52 Re-engine resurfaces as USAF reviews studies". Aviation Week. 10 October 2014.
  124. ^ U.S. Government Accountability Office (12 September 1997). Air Force Depot Maintenance: Information on the Cost-Effectiveness of B-1 and B-52 Support Options (Report). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  125. ^ "Air Force widens review of B-52 re-engining options". Aviation Week. 7 July 2003.(subscription required)
  126. ^ "Defense Science Board Task Force on B-52H Re-Engining" (PDF). Defense Science Board. June 2004.
  127. ^ "Boeing pushing B-52H re-engining". Flight International. 25 November 2003.
  128. ^ Isby Air International December 2018, pp. 36–38.
  129. ^ Giangreco, Leigh (14 September 2017). "Rolls Royce offers BR725 for B-52 re-engine effort". Flightglobal. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  130. ^ a b Knaack 1998.
  131. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 234–237.
  132. ^ Boyne 2001, p. 216.
  133. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 237.
  134. ^ Boyne 2001, p. 220.
  135. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 238.
  136. ^ a b c Lake International Air Power Review Spring 2003, p. 119.
  137. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 240.
  138. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 243.
  139. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 244.
  140. ^ Condor 1994, p. 42.
  141. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 282.
  142. ^ "11 January 1962 – This Day in Aviation". 11 January 2017.
  143. ^ Tillman 2007, p. 100.
  144. ^ Rosenberg, David A. "The Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945–1960." International Security, Spring 1983.
  145. ^ Kristensen, Hans M. "The Airborne Alert Program Over Greenland." The Nuclear Information Project. Retrieved: 2 October 2011.
  146. ^ Parrington, Alan J. "Mutually Assured Destruction Revisited, Strategic Doctrine in Question." Airpower Journal, Winter 1997.
  147. ^ Jenkins 1999, p. 21.
  148. ^ Spick 1986, pp. 4–5.
  149. ^ "May 1960 – The U-2 Incident. – Soviet and American Statements." Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 6, 1960.
  150. ^ a b Spick 1986, pp. 6–8.
  151. ^ a b Knaack 1988, pp. 252–254.
  152. ^ Miller 1985, pp. 69–70.
  153. ^ Greenwood 1995, p. 289.
  154. ^ "NASA SP-4006, Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965: Chronology on Science, Technology, and Policy." National Aeronautics and Space Administration via NASA Historical Staff, Office of Policy Analysis. Retrieved: 5 June 2010.
  155. ^ Schwartz 1998, p. 119.
  156. ^ Anderson, William. "Guam Jets Bomb S. Viet." Chicago Tribune, 18 June 1965.
  157. ^ Hobson 2001, pp. 22–23.
  158. ^ Schlight 1988, p. 52.
  159. ^ Lake 2004, p. 30.
  160. ^ a b Dick and Patterson 2006, p. 161.
  161. ^ Knaack 1988, p. 256.
  162. ^ "A New Look at Ia Drang". HistoryNet. 21 August 2018.
  163. ^ a b c d e Condor 1994, p. 37.
  164. ^ "Reds Down First B-52 of War." Los Angeles Times, 22 November 1972.
  165. ^ Dick and Patterson 2006, p. 187.
  166. ^ Budiansky 2004, p. 394.
  167. ^ Lake 2004, p. 32.
  168. ^ Dorr, Robert F. and Lindsay Peacock. Boeing's Cold War Warrior: B-52 Stratofortress, 1995.
  169. ^ Pribbenow, p. 327.
  170. ^ McCarthy and Allison 2009, p. 172.
  171. ^ Военное обозрение. "Система ПВО Вьетнама (часть 2)". Военное обозрение (in Russian).
  172. ^ a b c McCarthy 2009, p. 139.
  173. ^ a b c McCarthy 2009, p. 19.
  174. ^ Futrell 1976.
  175. ^ a b McCarthy 2009, p. 141.
  176. ^ a b Toperczer No. 29 2001.
  177. ^ Toperczer, Dr. Istvan. Air War Over North Viet Nam; The Vietnamese People's Air Force 1949–1977. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1998. ISBN 978-0-89747-390-3.
  178. ^ "Cambodia is a key to Vietnam peace." Rock Hill Herald, 24 August 1973.
  179. ^ Creech, Gray. "End of an Era: NASA's Famous B-52B Retires." NASA, 14 December 2004. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  180. ^ "Online Exhibit of Aircraft: 1955 B-52B Stratofortress." Archived 7 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  181. ^ Holder, William G. "The Ever-changing Fleet." Air University Review , July–August 1978. Retrieved: 22 July 2010.
  182. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, p. 39.
  183. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, p. 41.
  184. ^ Anderton, David. "B-1B: Out of the Shadows." Popular Mechanics, Volume 162, Issue 11, November 1985, pp. 98–99, 174. Retrieved: 13 November 2009.
  185. ^ Bailey, Carl E. "Fact Sheet: 325 Weapons Squadron (ACC)." Archived 11 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 5 June 2010.
  186. ^ "B-52 Stratofortress History- United States Nuclear Forces".
  187. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, pp. 51–52.
  188. ^ a b Arana-Barradas, Louis A. "'BUFF' and Tough: the B-52 bomber has been a valuable and effective member of the Air Force since 1955." Airman, June 2001. Retrieved: 16 October 2007.
  189. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, p. 50.
  190. ^ "Factsheets: 2nd Bomb Wing History" Archived 26 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Barksdale Air Force Base, United States Air Force. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  191. ^ Boeing B-52 evolves again with guided weapons launcher – Flightglobal.com, 15 January 2016
  192. ^ Cordesman and Wagner 1996, p. 451.
  193. ^ Dick and Patterson 2006, p. 225.
  194. ^ Garvey, William. "New Life for Buff: Older than its pilots, the B-52 gets ready to fly for 100 years." Popular Mechanics (Hearst Magazines); March 1999.
  195. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet: B-52 Stratofortress." United States Air Force, 20 September 2005. Retrieved: 11 August 2013.
  196. ^ Lake 2004, p. 48.
  197. ^ Lake 2004, pp. 47–48.
  198. ^ Condor 1994, p. 44.
  199. ^ "B-52H." NASA. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  200. ^ Dick and Patterson 2006, p. 222.
  201. ^ Steele, Johnathan. "Ghost village marks the battle that ended the war." The Guardian, 17 July 1999.
  202. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast November/December 2005, pp. 56–57.
  203. ^ Smart Bombs Keep B-52s In Business – Strategypage.com, 10 October 2013
  204. ^ Dick and Patterson 2006, p. 242.
  205. ^ "B-52 Stratofortress - United States Nuclear Forces".
  206. ^ Cenciotti, David (14 June 2015). "Photos show B-52s loaded with mines for simulated massive naval mine drop outside Sweden".
  207. ^ https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a217654.pdf
  208. ^ http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/2015/June%202015/0615ships.pdf
  209. ^ https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a186624.pdf
  210. ^ "These Madmen Flew B-52 Bombers at Wave-Top Heights".
  211. ^ "Lower Than a Snake's Belly in a Wagon Rut Redux > Vintage Wings of Canada". www.vintagewings.ca.
  212. ^ Boring, War Is (27 June 2014). "Transforming the B-52 Into a Maritime Patrol Plane".
  213. ^ "U.S. Air Force B-52s train with U.S. Navy P-8s in East China Sea". Kunsan Air Base.
  214. ^ Warrick, Joby and Walter Pincus. "Missteps in the Bunker". Washington Post, 23 September 2007. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  215. ^ Hoffman, Michael. "Wing decertified, COs sacked for nuke mistake". Archived 13 May 2012 at WebCite Air Force Times, 21 October 2007. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  216. ^ Hopper, David. "B-52 Stratofortress." Archived 22 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Air Force, 15 April 2011. Retrieved: 15 April 2011.
  217. ^ "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight, 2013. Retrieved: 11 August 2013.
  218. ^ "Air Force Depot Maintenance: Information on the Cost-Effectiveness of B-1 and B-52 Support Options (Briefing Report, 09/12/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-210BR)." Archived 13 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  219. ^ "USAF Fact Sheet B-52 Stratofortress." United States Air Force. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  220. ^ Hebert, Adam J. "Strategic Force." Archived 17 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine Air Force Magazine, Volume 90, Issue 2, February 2007, pp. 38–43. Retrieved: 13 November 2009.
  221. ^ "Sixty years on, the B-52 is still going strong." CNET Military Tech News, 15 April 2012.
  222. ^ Ogden, Eloise. "Third generation B-52 flight officer." Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Minot Daily News, 19 September 2011. Retrieved: 2 October 2011.
  223. ^ Philipps, Dave (5 December 2015). "After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  224. ^ Cortes, Lorenzo. "B-52 Crew Credits Arsenal, Loiter Capability During Operation Iraqi Freedom." Defense Daily, 9 May 2003. Retrieved: 13 November 2009.
  225. ^ Axe, David. "Why Can't the Air Force Build an Affordable Plane?" The Atlantic, 26 March 2012. Retrieved: 30 June 2012.
  226. ^ Dillow, Clay (5 March 2015). "This single Pentagon program is going to upend the combat jet industry". Fortune. Retrieved 16 April 2015. The program will produce 80 to 100 aircraft (at roughly $550 million per copy), replacing the Air Force's legacy fleet of B-52 and B-1 bombers with a stealthy, long-range, nuke-capable strike aircraft entering service around 2020.
  227. ^ "Northrop Grumman Wins $21.4 Billion Pentagon Contract". The New York Times. 28 October 2015.
  228. ^ Weaver, Dustin. "US flies B-52 bombers near disputed islands claimed by China". The Hill. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  229. ^ Yan, Holly. "U.S. B-52 bomber flies over S. Korea in solidarity after N. Korean nuclear claim". CNN. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  230. ^ B-52s arrive in Qatar to join bombing campaign against ISISAir Force Times, 9 April 2016
  231. ^ "U.S. Air Force reports sharp climb in air strikes against militants in Afghanistan". Air Force Times. 29 July 2016.
  232. ^ News Transcript: Department Of Defense Press Briefing by Lieutenant General Harrigian via teleconference from Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar: Press Operations: Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command U.S. Department of Defense, 13 February 2018.
  233. ^ a b c Dorr 1990, p. 26.
  234. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast, September/October 2005, p. 70.
  235. ^ a b c d e Boyne, Walter J. "The B-52 Story." Air University Review, November–December 1982.
  236. ^ Willis Air Enthusiast September/October 2005, p. 59.
  237. ^ "NASA 'Balls 8': B-52B 'Mothership' Launch Aircraft." NASA. Retrieved: 2 October 2007.
  238. ^ a b Lake International Air Power Review Spring 2003, p. 121.
  239. ^ Hewitt Phillips, W. "Chapter 13: Gust Alleviation." Journey in Aeronautical Research: A Career at NASA Langley Research Center, Monographs in Aerospace History, Number 12, November 1998, p. 132. Washington, D.C: NASA Historical Office.
  240. ^ Knaack p. 263
  241. ^ Joe Baugher, Boeing B-52E Stratofortress, July 1, 2000
  242. ^ a b c Tagg 2004, p. 86.
  243. ^ a b Boyne 2001, p. 221.
  244. ^ "Last B-52G eliminated under nuclear arms treaty" Archived 1 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. militarytimes.com, 28 December 2013.
  245. ^ "A roaring farewell at Wurtsmith air base." Chicago Tribune, 4 December 1992.
  246. ^ a b Dorr and Peacock 2000, p.52.
  247. ^ Dorr 1990, p. 27.
  248. ^ Andrade 1979, p. 55.
  249. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-26. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  250. ^ Schneider, Barry. "Big Bangs from little bombs." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1975, p. 28.
  251. ^ Oskins & Maggelet 2007, p. 174.
  252. ^ "Joint Nuclear Accident Co-ordinating Center: Record of Events." United States Department of Defense, 14 April 1961. Retrieved: 15 June 2010.
  253. ^ "B-52C 53-0406 Elephant Mountain 1963." mewreckchasers.com. Retrieved: 16 September 2010.
  254. ^ Nemitz, Bill. "Crash site tells of Cold War tragedy." Press Herald Maine Today, 30 August 2006.
  255. ^ Sagan, Scott Douglas (1995). The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons. Princeton University Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-691-02101-5.
  256. ^ a b Knaack 1988, p. 279.
  257. ^ "Spain, U.S. Agree to Radioactivity Cleanup 40 Years After Atomic Accident." Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine Fox News, 8 October 2006. Retrieved: 23 September 2007.
  258. ^ "Butterknife V Thule Route." nukestrat.com. Retrieved: 13 November 2009.
  259. ^ Lake and Styling 2004, p. 19.
  260. ^ Christensen, Svend Aage. "The Marshal's Baton." Archived 17 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS Report 2009:18. Retrieved: 9 March 2010.
  261. ^ "A Cold War Tragedy: B-52C Crash In January 1971 | Military History of the Upper Great Lakes". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  262. ^ Schaefer, David. "Pilot in fatal B-52 crash may have violated rules: Dicks cites Signs of 'acrobatic' Flying'." The Seattle Times, 28 June 1994.
  263. ^ "U.S. B-52 bomber with 6 crew members crashes off Guam." CBC News, 21 July 2008.
  264. ^ Knaack 1988, pp. 292–94.
  265. ^ Loftin, L. K. Jr. NASA SP-468, Quest for performance: The evolution of modern aircraft. NASA, 1985. Retrieved: 22 April 2006.
  266. ^ "Upgraded B-52 still on cutting edge" Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine 'U.S. Air Force. Retrieved: 11 April 2013.
  267. ^ "Lockheed Martin's Sniper ATP Continues Successful B-52 Integration Test Program." Lockheed Martin. Retrieved: 7 February 2010.
  268. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (15 June 2016). "Why We Celebrated the Beehive and Its Maker". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  269. ^ Riggs, Ransom (20 July 2007). "A history of bad hairstyles". CNN. Retrieved 12 August 2016.


  • Andrade, John. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Hinckley, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 978-0-904597-22-6.
  • Bowers, Peter M. "Boeing B-52A/H Stratofortress." Aircraft in Profile, Volume 13, pp. 241–265. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1973. ISBN 978-0-85383-022-1.
  • Bowers, Peter M. Boeing Aircraft since 1916. London: Putnam, Third edition, 1989. ISBN 978-0-85177-804-4.
  • Boyne, Walter J. "The Best of Wings Magazine." Aircraft in Profile, Volume 13. New York: Brassey's, 2001. ISBN 978-1-57488-368-8.
  • Budiansky, Stephen. Air Power: The Men, Machines, and Ideas that Revolutionized War, from Kitty Hawk to Iraq. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. ISBN 978-0-670-03285-3.
  • Condor, Albert E. Air Force Gunners (AFGA): The Men Behind the Guns, The History of Enlisted Aerial Gunnery, 1917–1991. Nashville, Tennessee: Turner Publishing, 1994. ISBN 978-1-56311-167-9.
  • Cordesman, Anthony H. and Abraham R. Wagner. The Lessons of Modern War: The Gulf War. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8133-8601-0.
  • Cooke, David C. How Airplanes are Made. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1956. OCLC 1577826.
  • Davis, Larry. B-52 Stratofortress in action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1992. ISBN 978-0-89747-289-0.
  • Dick, Ron and Dan Patterson. Aviation Century: War & Peace In The Air. Eden Prairie, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-55046-430-6.
  • Donald, David. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: Prospero Books, 1997. ISBN 978-1-85605-375-4.
  • Dorr, Robert F. "Stratofortress… The Big One from Boeing." Air Enthusiast. No. Forty-one, Midsummer 1990, pp. 22–37. Bromley, Kent, UK: Pilot Press. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Dorr, Robert F. and Brian C. Rogers. "Boeing B-52H: The Ultimate Warrior". World Air Power Journal, Volume 27, Winter 1996, pp. 54–101. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 978-1-874023-83-8. ISSN 0959-7050.
  • Dorr, Robert F. and Lindsay T. Peacock. B-52 Stratofortress: Boeing's Cold War Warrior. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2000. ISBN 978-1-8417-6097-1.
  • Drendel, Lou. B-52 Stratofortress in action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1975. ISBN 978-0-89747-022-3.
  • Ethell, Jeffrey L. B-52 Stratofortress. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-85368-937-9.
  • Eden, Paul, ed. "Boeing B-52 Stratofortress". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London: Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 978-1-904687-84-9.
  • Flynn, Kelly J. Proud to Be: My Life, The Air Force, The Controversy. New York: Random House, 1997. ISBN 978-0-375-50109-8.
  • Futrell, R.F., et al. The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: Aces and Aerial victories, 1965–1973. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1976. ISBN 978-0-89875-884-9.
  • Greenwood, John T., ed. Milestones of Aviation. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution NASM, 1995. ISBN 978-0-88363-661-9.
  • Gunston, Bill. "Boeing B-52:The Strategic Stratofortress". Flight, Vol. 72, No 2547, 15 November 1957, pp. 771–778.
  • Higham, Robin S. D. Flying American Combat Aircraft: The Cold War. Stackpole Books, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8117-3238-3.
  • Hobson, Chris. Vietnam Air Losses, USAF, USN, USMC, Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961–1973. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 2001. ISBN 978-1-85780-115-6.
  • Isby, David C. "B-52: Setting course for 2050". Air International, December 2018, Vol. 95, No. 6. pp. 36–41. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Jenkins, Dennis R. B-1 Lancer: The Most Complicated Warplane Ever Developed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. ISBN 978-0-07-134694-8.
  • Knaack, Marcelle Size. Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1988. ISBN 978-0-16-002260-9.
  • Lake, Jon. "Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: Towards the Octogenarian Bomber". Air International, May 2001, Vol 60 No 5. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 286–293.
  • Lake, Jon. "Boeing B-52 variants: Part 2 B-52D to 'B-52J'". International Air Power Review. Volume Nine, Summer 2003, pp. 100–115. Norwalk, Ct, USA: AIRtime Publishing. ISBN 978-1-880588-56-7. ISSN 1473-9917.
  • Lake, Jon. "Variant Briefing: Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: Part 1". International Air Power Review. Volume Eight, Spring 2003, pp. 106–121. Norwalk, Connecticut, USA:AIRtime Publishing. ISBN 978-1-880588-54-3. ISSN 1473-9917.
  • Lake, Jon. B-52 Stratofortress Units in Operation Desert Storm. London: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-0-85045-026-2.
  • Lake, Jon and Mark Styling. B-52 Stratofortress Units in Combat 1955–73. London: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-1-84176-607-2.
  • Lloyd, Alwyn T. B-52 Stratofortress in Detail and Scale, Volume 27. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1988. ISBN 978-0-8306-8037-5.
  • Maier, Lothar Nick. B*U*F*F: Big Ugly Fat F*****. Bloomington, Indiana: Trafford Publishing, 2002. ISBN 978-1-55395-049-3.
  • Marshall, L. Michel. The Eleven Days of Christmas: America's Last Vietnam Battle. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1-893554-24-5.
  • McCarthy, Donald J. Jr. MiG Killers: A Chronology of US Air Victories in Vietnam 1965–1973. North Branch, Minnesota: Speciality Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-58007-136-9.
  • McCarthy, James R. and George B. Allison. Linebacker II: A View from the Rock. Darby, Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing, 1985. ISBN 978-0-912799-31-5.
  • Mehuron, Tamar A., Assoc. Editor. "2007 USAF Almanac – Equipment." Air Force Magazine: Journal of the Air Force Association, Volume 90, Number 5, May 2007. ISSN 0730-6784.
  • Miller, Jay. Convair B-58 Hustler (Aerograph 4). Midland, UK: Aerofax, 1985. ISBN 978-0-942548-26-6.
  • Oskins, James C. and Michael H. Maggelet. Broken Arrow: The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents. Raleigh, North Carolina: Lulu.com, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4357-0361-2.
  • Polmar, Norman. The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1-59114-685-8.
  • Schlight, John. The War in South Vietnam: The Years of the Offensive, 1965–1968 (The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia). Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, 1988. ISBN 978-0-912799-51-3.
  • Spick, Mike. Modern Fighting Aircraft, B-1B. New York: Prentice Hall, 1986. ISBN 978-0-13-055237-2.
  • Tagg, Lori S. Development of the B-52: The Wright Field Story. Dayton, Ohio: History Office Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, United States Air Force, 2004.
  • Tegler, Jan. B-47 Stratojet: Boeing's Brilliant Bomber. McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 978-0-07-135567-4.
  • Tillman, Barrett. LeMay. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4039-7135-7.
  • Willis, David. "Boeing's Timeless Deterrent, Part 1: B-52 Stratofortress – From Conception to Hanoi". Air Enthusiast, No. 119, September/October 2005, pp. 50–73. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Willis, David. "Boeing's Timeless Deterrent, Part 2: B-52 – The Permanent Spear Tip". Air Enthusiast, No. 120, November/December 2005, pp. 38–61. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Winchester, Jim, ed. "Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (SAC)". Military Aircraft of the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84013-929-7.
  • Kai Wah G Eng, "Loss of 53–0393, First Production B-52B". "Buff Bulletin – Newsletter of the B-52 Stratofortress Association", Vol. 19, No. 1, Issue 67, Spring 2011, pg. 10.
External image
Boeing B-52G Stratofortress Cutaway
image icon Boeing B-52G Stratofortress Cutaway from Flightglobal.com