The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a 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. Check out some facts below!
1) The B-52’s first flight was April 15, 1952 – over 63 years ago.
2) The B-52 was designed to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War, but it has only carried conventional ordnance in combat.
3) There were huge leaps in aviation happening when the B-52 was being designed, and it went through 6 major redesigns during the 5 year design period. The YB-52 pictured below was the second-to-last major redesign.
4) A B-52A was used to carry the North American X-15. The X-15 achieved the record for fastest manned powered aircraft, with a speed of Mach 6.72.
5) There have been 744 B-52s built, but currently there are only 85 in active service, with 9 in reserve.
6) The B-52 can carry up to 70,000 pounds of ordnance, or the equivalent of 30 fully-loaded Cessna 172s.
7) Production ended in 1962, which means the youngest B-52 is 53 years old.
8) The jet has a unique ejection system; the lower deck crew eject downward.
9) The B-52 is expected to serve until the 2040s. That’s over 90 years of service.
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