Boeing Bomber aircraft

B-52H Stratofortress (1955)

B-52H Stratofortress (1955)

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Boeing Millitary

B-52H Stratofortress (1955)

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B-52H Stratofortress (1955)

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, and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling.

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 Peacemaker

Operational History

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”. 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.[12] On 13 February 1946, the Air Force issued bid invitations for these specifications, with Boeing, Consolidated Aircraft, and Glenn L. Martin Company submitting proposals.


Boeing B-52H

Role Strategic bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight 15 April 1952; 69 years ago
Introduction February 1955
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
Produced 1952–1962
Number built 744
Developed into Conroy Virtus

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Boeing B-52H Stratofortress (1955)

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. 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). 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


Maximum speed: 650 mph (1,050 km/h, 560 kn)

Cruise speed: 509 mph (819 km/h, 442 kn)

Combat range: 8,800 mi (14,200 km, 7,600 nmi)

Ferry range: 10,145 mi (16,327 km, 8,816 nmi)

Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)

Rate of climb: 6,270 ft/min (31.85 m/s)

Wing loading: 120 lb/sq ft (586 kg/m2)

Guns: 2 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M24A1 autocannon in a remote controlled tail turret with

Bombs: 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) of ordnance, including:

2 × Mk15 nuclear bombs (3.8 megaton yield each), or

28 × 500 lb (227 kg) conventional bombs

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he 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.

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