It’s a mighty big sky that soldiers look up to on the field of battle; it’s the B-52H Stratofortress which owns that sky. Policing the Earth’s atmosphere since 1962, the Air Force’s Stratofortress B-52H is 93 tonnes of pure air superiority. Informal circles refer to it as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F#cker) and with good reason. What its design lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in spades with power and presence. The 35 tonne payload of armaments includes but isn’t limited to nuclear missiles, subsonic cruise missiles, and cluster bombs-guaranteed to ruin someone’s day.
“The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, strategic heavy bomber capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. The latest version, the B-52H, can carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.”-Boeing 2014
The flying marvel is also battle tested, having carried out missions during the Cold and Vietnam War. What better deterrent is there than to have the bigger stick in your possession? The Stratofortress was America’s champion and as a countermeasure against Russian nuclear threats and aerial bombardments in Vietnam it stands uncontested. The crew of 5 (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer) have a suite of avionics to operate and must be adequately skilled in doing so. The large fuselage boasts an impressive wingspan of 185 ft. For perspective, Usain Bolt could stride across in about 7.5 seconds. The B-52H Stratofortress will continue to be the ever watchful guardian for service men and women in decades to come.
|Wing span||185 ft 0 in (56.4 m)|
|Length||159 ft 4 in (48.5 m)|
|Height||40 ft 8 in (12.4 m)|
|Weight||up to 488,000 lb (220T)|
|Max Speed||560 kt (650 mph, 1,047 km/h)|
|Range||10,145 mi (8,764 nmi, 16,232 km)|
|Unit cost||B-52H: US$53.4 million (1998)|
Cooper Powers “It’s better to be seen than viewed”