B-52 Stratofortress

The BlackbirdMilitary AircraftMuseumsImage GalleryGroom LakeLinks

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. It can fly at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet and it is capable of carrying nuclear or conventional weapons.

For more than 35 years, B-52 Stratofortresses have been the primary manned strategic bomber force for the United States. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. Updated with modern technology, the B-52 will be used into the 21st century and current engineering analyses show the B-52's life span to extend beyond the year 2045.

The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in 1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, was delivered in October 1962.

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 enhance the targeting, battle assessment, flight safety and terrain-avoidance system, further improving its abilities in combat. The use of aerial refueling gives the B-52 a range limited only by the endurance of the crew. It has an unrefueled range in excess of 8,800 miles.

B-52 Specifications
Primary FunctionHeavy bomber
ContractorBoeing Military Airplane Co.
Power PlantEight Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103 turbofan
ThrustEach engine up to 17,000 pounds
Length159 feet, 4 inches (48.5 meters)
Height40 feet, 8 inches (12.4 meters)
Wingspan185 feet (56.4 meters)
Speed650 miles per hour (Mach 0.86)
Ceiling50,000 feet (15,151.5 meters)
WeightApproximately 185,000 pounds empty (83,250 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight488,000 pounds (219,600 kilograms)
RangeUnrefueled 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles)
AccommodationsSix ejection seats
Date DeployedFebruary 1955
Unit Cost$74 million
InventoryActive force, 85; ANG, 0; Reserve, 9


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.