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B-52

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B-52 / Stratofortress
Type Strategic bomber
Manufacturer Boeing
Introduction February 1955
Status Active: 85

Reserve: 9

Number built 744
Cost $14.43 million - $53.4 million

The famous USAF bomber flown since 1952.

While the B52 is 55 years old (equaled in service to its original purchaser only by the Canberra), it is still the USAF's heavy hitter as it has been extensively modified and updated. Despite the type's age, many airframes are relatively 'new', i.e. low houred. It is strongly rumoured that some airframes are being lifed up to 2040, as the type is a very useful and versatile weapons platform and there is nothing to replace it in efficiency. This would mean the B52 being in service for the best part of a century!

Flown during the Cold War, Vietnam war, Kosovo and the first Gulf War and Iraq, it is capable of dropping a shite load of bombs (see below for an example payload) and/or cruise missiles and was originally intended to drop nukes on Russia (as it did in the classic cold war movie Doctor Strangelove).

It has a wingspan of 185 ft, length is approx 159 ft and weighs nearly 220 metric tons at full load. It cruises at 650 mph and can reach an altitude of 50,000 ft. Range is pretty impressive at 8,800 miles without being refueled. The payload can be up to 70,000 lb of weapons... mounted both internally and externally.

The B-52 continues to be a reliable and effective economical heavy bomber, particularly against nations that have limited air defense capabilities. Even in the face of stiff AA coverage, once B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers have cleared the way... the B-52 is the platform of choice for pounding some MF'er flat.

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Get some

Specifications

  • General characteristics
    • Crew: 5 pilot, copilot, radar navigator (bombardier), navigator, and Electronic Warfare Officer; gunners are no longer a part of the crew.
    • Length: 159 ft 4 in (48.5 m)
    • Wingspan: 185 ft 0 in (56.4 m)
    • Height: 40 ft 8 in (12.4 m)
    • Wing area: 4,000 ft² (370 m²)
    • Airfoil: NACA 63A219.3 mod root, NACA 65A209.5 tip
    • Empty weight: 185,000 lb (83,250 kg)
    • Loaded weight: 265,000 lb (120,000 kg)
    • Max takeoff weight: 488,000 lb (220,000 kg)
    • Fuel capacity: 47,975 US gal (181,725 L))
    • Power plant: 8× Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofans, 17,000 lbf (76 kN) each
    • Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0119 (estimated)
    • Drag area: 47.60 ft² (4.42 m²)
    • Aspect ratio: 8.56
  • Performance
    • Maximum speed: 560 kn (650 mph, 1,000 km/h)
    • Combat radius: 4,480 mi (3,890 NM, 7,210 km)
    • Ferry range: 11,000 mi (9,560 nm, 15,000 km)
    • Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (17,000 m)
    • Rate of climb: 6,270 ft/min[75] (31.85 m/s)
    • Wing loading: 30 lb/ft² (150 kg/m²)
    • Thrust/weight: 0.51
    • Lift-to-drag ratio: 21.5 (estimated)

Armament

  • Guns: 1× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon in a remote controlled tail turret, now removed from all operational aircraft.
  • Ordnance: up to 60,000 lb (27,200 kg) bombs, missiles, and mines, in various configurations
  • All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety. This improves its combat ability and low-level flight capability

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...and yes USAF PR personnel can't spell receive.