Military Review

Another modernization of the famous B-52 bomber


The US Air Force continues to modernize its 50-year-old B-52 bombers. Last modernization will allow everyone in carry-52 130 more than one hundred and ten-kilogram bomblets (SDB-Small Diameter Bomb, also known as GBU-39 / B). Six years ago, the swivel drum was changed to B-52, so it was able to carry 32 small caliber bombs instead of 15 large bombs.

Another modernization of the famous B-52 bomber

SDB was originally developed as a smart bomb. It has a more efficient warhead design and guidance system. Its shape is more like a rocket than a bomb (it is about two meters in length and 190 mm in diameter). A reduced amount of explosive in SDB leads to a decrease in the number of civilian casualties. Friendly forces may be closer to the target when using SDB. While the use of 500 caliber bombs, 1000 and 2000 pounds causes a spectacular effect, sometimes it is not necessary. Infantry prefers smaller GPS-targeted bombs. Because of this, the 500 pound JDAM was quickly developed and adopted. But it was not enough small when conducting combat operations in urban buildings. SDB is equipped only with 17 kilograms of explosives compared to 127 kilograms in a bomb X-NUMX caliber pounds. In principle, the SDB does not have a rocket engine, but is able to plan for a target located at a great distance. The lack of a motor makes SDB even more compact. Small wings allow SDB to be planned for distances up to 500-70 km (when dropped from a great height). SDB is also provided with a solid cap, allowing nearly three meters break hard rock or concrete, and its warhead causes less collateral damage than conventional bomb where the explosive is contained in a conventional metal housing. Thus, SDB is the next generation of smart bombs. The more compact SDB design allows it to be more transportable. F-80 / 15 / 16 aircraft can carry 18 or more SDB bombs. SDB is placed on a special suspension that can accommodate four such bombs. Usually on such a bomber suspension is placed one large 24-, 500- or 1000-pound bomb. However, such more bombs are rarely necessary in modern combat situations.

The new bombs make the B-52 B-240 most reliable and most reliable air force truck even more effective. With a maximum take-off weight in tonnes 250-0.78 BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow, large and ugly fat) is a large aircraft, intended for cheap and efficient transportation of charges. Last year, the combat readiness ratio of these bombers was 52. Despite its age, the B-XNUMX is equipped with modern electronics and equipment, including flat screens. Looking more closely, you can see behind all this fifty-year-old metal.

B-52 is the cheapest to operate a heavy bomber of the US Air Force and even one such aircraft is able to cover the entire territory of Afghanistan. B-52 bombers on a rotational basis are based at the Air Force base on Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean and from there they support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of 2001, ten B-52s dropped a third of all bombs used in Afghanistan. This is a remarkable figure for the 60-year-old aircraft. The B-52 also has a lower crash rate than the B-1 and B-2 bomber. Compared to supersonic B-1 and high-tech B-2, B-52 is just a flying truck. Thus, despite its advanced age, B-52 was the cheapest, safest and most reliable way to deliver smart bombs in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, with ten 909-kilogram JDAM (steerable GPS) bombs or with a large number of bombs smaller caliber board, B-52 able to be over the area of ​​combat actions for several hours waiting coordinate purposes of special forces from the ground or from advanced gunners Air Force. JDAM accuracy (in more than 90 percent of cases) is within 16 meters from a given coordinate. Moreover, most bombs hit targets within ten minutes of the request.

The B-52 was the main heavy bomber throughout most of the Cold War (1947-91). The prototype B-52 made its first flight in the 1952 year. Extreme B-52H was built in 1962 year. B-52 has seen a lot in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, the Balkans and Afghanistan. Its crew consists of five people (commander, co-pilot, radar operator, navigator and EW operator). Prior to 1990, there was also a shooter aft 20-mm gun. Automation allows you to further reduce the size of the crew. The crew of the B-1 era of 1970-s consists of four people, and the crew of the B-2 of the era of 1980-s consists of only two people. The only flying modification of the B-52 are the B-52H models, which have changed significantly since the last time they rolled off the conveyor in the 1962 year.

The real replacement of the B-52 was never built, for the reason that no one could have foreseen the development of such precise smart bombs and the ability of the US Air Force to destroy most enemy air defenses. In fact, even when confronted with powerful enemy defenses, B-52 was able to complete its mission. During the twelve days of Linebacker II operations in North Vietnam in 1972-the year of the fire of Soviet missiles SAM-2 15 bombers were lost in-52. The 150 B-52 bombers stationed at the Guam airbase performed 729 operations, with losses of up to two percent. However, given the number of sorties, about ten percent of the B-52 was lost. Of the 92 crew members of the downed aircraft were killed 33.

After the Vietnam War, B-52 received several generations of new electronic warfare tools based on the experience gained during Operation Linebacker II. Nevertheless, there was never enough money to keep B-52 up to date, especially with regard to the equipment necessary to use some new bombs. As a result, some B-52s received the equipment necessary to use the JDAM bombs just before the war in Afghanistan in 2001. B-1 was upgraded to use JDAM to B-1, because B-52 is considered more reliable. In any case, the upgrade was cheap - laying cable from the control station weapons to bombs, thus, GPS data on the location of the target can be changed in flight. The 50-year-old B-52 soon became a favorite weapon in Afghanistan, able to circle for several hours and, on demand, drop a single-colored JDAM bomb.

Currently, the US Air Force capable of destroying high-altitude anti-aircraft missiles, and then apply the in-52 from high altitudes to avoid defeat low-high-altitude anti-aircraft guns and mobile anti-aircraft missile systems. The B-1 and B-2 bombers were created to deal with even more intense air defense. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, no one else has such a system. Perhaps in the future, China will be able to build another such formidable air defense system. Currently, due to the lack of a first-class air defense system capable of stopping it, the B-52 can still break into the war zone, even for the delivery of nuclear weapons.


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  1. d1m1drol
    d1m1drol 21 November 2012 08: 42
    B half a hundred and two (as they were called by the Russian "consultants") ... even in Vietnam and Korea, our pilots pounded them ...
    1. sv-sakh
      sv-sakh 21 November 2012 09: 48
      and they, in turn, hammered and hammer the entire not very developed world of banana republics and backward dictators .. With "humane-democratic" carpet-flat bombing ..
      Nevertheless, the car is excellent .. But its owners - not really ...
    2. Col.
      Col. 21 November 2012 10: 25
      Quote: d1m1drol
      B half a hundred and two (as they were called by the Russian "consultants") ...

      It was not the "consultants" who called them that, it is customary to call the numbers in the radio exchange in order to uniquely distinguish "fifty" from "sixty"
    3. Windbreak
      Windbreak 21 November 2012 11: 24
      What is Korea? The operation of the B-52 began in 1955.
    4. Bashkaus
      Bashkaus 21 November 2012 12: 14
      In the last days of the war, about a hundred B52 climbed the carpet bombing of Vietnam, about 30 did not return from the mission. As they say C75 to them in ... pu.
      The laughter of American soldiers is amazing when the bodies of people scatter on the first roller across the sky. I don’t know if there is another plane in the world that has caused so many deaths?
      And just by comparing two pictures:


      I want to say one thing rodents rats have rats, and their coloration is appropriate. It is always fun to destroy the unarmed, but flying over a bench with the sphincter above three hundred is not so funny.
      1. Professor
        21 November 2012 12: 19
        I don’t know if there is another plane in the world that has caused so many deaths?

        Less pathos. Hiroshima and Dresden were not bombed by the B-52.
        1. Kars
          Kars 21 November 2012 12: 26
          Quote: Professor
          Less pathos. Hiroshima and Dresden were not bombed by the B-52.

          It may well be that Vietnam and Orange (although I'm not sure that 52 used it) block Hiroshima and Dresden. In addition, there are Japanese and Germans who were opponents of the USSR.
        2. Bashkaus
          Bashkaus 21 November 2012 20: 24
          Well, Dresden 20t dead, Hiroshima and Nagasaki 150t combined.
          And now, dear professor, tell me how many people died in Vietnam, Karei, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, for two Iraqi companies, Libya and a number of other conflicts? Oh yeah, after all, nonhumans were bombed ...
          1. Professor
            21 November 2012 21: 29
            To begin with, during the Allied bombing of Dresden far from 20 thousand died. About 4-x thousand tons of explosives were dumped - 4 kilotons! German authorities claimed 200 thousands of dead. Even if you doubled the number of victims, the figure is still significant.
            Regarding the countries you cited, take the trouble to give numbers.
            1. Arkan
              Arkan 22 November 2012 03: 55
              Quote: Professor
              German authorities claimed 200 thousand dead

              And there can be no statistics at all - the city was packed with refugees who fled to the west of the Soviet Army. Not even then, nor now, can anyone even name the approximate number of people who were in the city, not to mention the dead.
  2. predator.3
    predator.3 21 November 2012 08: 55
    Performance Characteristics (B-52H)




    Boeing B-52H with weapons, AB Barksdale (Barksdale) 2006
    Crew: 5 people (commander, pilot, radar operator, navigator and electronic warfare operator)
    Length: 49,05 [10] m
    Wingspan: 56,39 [10] m
    Height: 12,4 m
    Wing Area: 371,6 [10] m²
    1/4 chord sweep angle: 35o [10]
    Wing Extension Ratio: 8.56
    Wing Profile: NACA 63A219.3 mod wing root, NACA 65A209.5 wingtip
    Weight empty: 83 250 kg
    Curb weight: 120 000 kg
    Maximum take-off weight: 229 [065] kg
    Maximum flight weight: 256 [735] kg
    Maximum combat load in the weapons compartment: 22 [680] kg
    Fuel capacity: 181 725 L
    Engines: 8 × turbojet engine Pratt & Whitney TF33-P / 103
    Thrust: 7710 [10] kgf (75,6 kN)
    Front drag coefficient at zero lift: 0.0119 (calculated value)
    Equivalent resistance area: 4,42 m²
    Flight characteristics
    Top speed at high altitude: 957 km / h (Mach 0,86) [11]
    Cruising speed maximum: Mach 0,84 (819 km / h instrument) [10]
    Normal cruising speed: Mach 0,77 (true 723 km / h) [10]
    Maximum speed at low altitude: 652–676 km / h (Mach 0,53–0,55) (when overcoming air defense) [10]
    Combat radius: 7 km
    Ferry range: 16 km [090]
    Practical ceiling: 16 [765] m
    Rate of climb: m / s 31,85
    Takeoff run: 2 900 [10] m
    Mileage: (without brake parachute)
    on the dry runway: 1 433 [10] m
    on a wet runway: 2 [500] m
    Wing loading: 150 kg / m²
    Thrust-to-weight ratio: 0,51
    Aerodynamic quality of the aircraft: 21,5 (calculated value)
    Maximum operational overload: +2
    EPR: ~ 100 [10] m²
    Cannon armament: 1 automatic six-barreled 20 mm gun M61 Volcano at the tail of the aircraft, dismantled in 1994
    Bomb load: up to 31 kg [500] of various weapons:
    Tu-95MS modification
    Wingspan, m 50.05
    Aircraft Length m 47.09
    Aircraft height, m ​​13.20
    Wing area, m2 295.00
    Weight, kg
    empty 94400 aircraft
    maximum take-off 187700
    Fuel, kg 87000
    Engine type 4 TVD NK 12M (MV)
    Power, hp 4 x 15000
    Maximum speed km / h
    at height 830
    off the ground xnumx
    Cruising speed, km / h 710
    Practical range, km 10500
    Combat range, km 6500
    Practical ceiling 12000
    Crew 7
    two 23-mm guns GSh-23 or GSh-23L
    Combat load - normal 9000 kg, maximum - 20000 kg, overload - 25000 kg:
    The Tu-95MS is equipped with a multi-position drum launcher designed for six small-sized X-55 long-range subsonic cruise missiles (range 2500 km). Under the wing on two nodes of the external suspension of the Tu-95MS-6 aircraft, four more missiles of this type are allowed. On a Tu-95MS-16 aircraft, under the wing at four nodes, ten X-55s can be suspended (currently, in accordance with the Russian-American agreement, all Tu-95MS aircraft carry rocket weapons only on internal suspension). It is possible to equip the aircraft with conventional free-falling bombs.
    1. askort154
      askort154 21 November 2012 11: 48
      The thrust ratio (0,51) and rate of climb (31m.s.) are not real, correspond to the curb weight (120t), and not the maximum take-off (230t), therefore the actual thrust ratio of 0,3 and vertical set
      8 -10 ms .Ceiling 16000m - doubtful, even for "empty". The rest of the flight specifications are enviable for this class.
  3. sergant89
    sergant89 21 November 2012 10: 05
    The plane is excellent, despite the years they cherish both equipment and people, in two videos after the explosion they shout like children, I would look at these gondola in the epicenter of the explosion so that they would yell.
    1. Geokingxnumx
      Geokingxnumx 21 November 2012 10: 35
      Quote: sergant89
      in two videos after the explosion, they scream like children, I would look at these gondons in the epicenter of the explosion so that they would scream.

      it's adrenaline
      you would have the same reaction! (well, not so but almost so)
      Nuu warrior is beautiful in the movies!
      1. mar.tira
        mar.tira 21 November 2012 15: 13
        Quote: GEOKING95
        it's adrenaline

        Do you want to say when they hit Tskhinvali with direct fire, and it was adrenaline playing for your peacekeepers. Or when ours bombed Tbilisi, this was for fun? Imagine if you had a pair of Tu-95s working in the city, who would have the adrenaline? Do you have strange thoughts?
        1. Geokingxnumx
          Geokingxnumx 21 November 2012 18: 14
          Quote: mar.tira
          Imagine if a couple of Tu-95s worked in the city! Who would have adrenaline crossed ???

          learn adrenaline what it is and when it will appear (well, we always have but a small dose)
          “Hit or run”

          % BD learn)
    2. Vadivak
      Vadivak 21 November 2012 11: 04
      Quote: sergant89
      they cherish both technology and people,

      Davis-Monthan airbase? There, the B-52 (and the rest 4400 aircraft) are periodically put into storage at the storage base to preserve the resource of the aircraft, and those that are stored are put into combat condition and issued to the unit, so the total resource of all aircraft is maintained at approximately the same level, and in the event of a major war, they can be mothballed. There is also equipment for the production of B-2 and B-1, which is stored here in case it needs to be renewed.

      Excursions are brought to the base, but they are not allowed out of buses
      1. Professor
        21 November 2012 12: 05
        in case of a big war they can be mothballed

        Well, that's unlikely. Now only B-52Н is in operation, and it has undergone multiple modernization. Pilots are trained to fly only on them (glass cockpit, etc.), and ground services serve them. Roll out to the B-52 lane 30 flying years ago - there will be nothing to arm it, there will be no one to service and pilot it. So de-preservation will not work. Another thing is a deep modernization or the use of spare parts.
  4. askort154
    askort154 21 November 2012 12: 17
    It would be at such a test site to test "Yars" or "mace".
  5. gregor6549
    gregor6549 21 November 2012 13: 20
    Quite a reasonable approach, considering that both this bomber and its "colleague" TU95 are generally "trucks" for bombs, missiles, etc. Ie. brought them, dumped them on the heads of opponents and dumped them home (unless, of course, they dumped them before ...). And it also suggests that the safety margin of both one and the other aircraft was more than sufficient. Well, replacing some outdated equipment with more modern ones or adding new ones is also not a particular problem for such "litaks". There is more than enough space.
  6. merkel1961
    merkel1961 21 November 2012 13: 41
    askort154, A wonderful areal target, you don’t miss, there’s enough space for both the Strategic Missile Forces and aviation.
  7. MilaPhone
    MilaPhone 21 November 2012 17: 23
    Winged, stsuka!
  8. alex86
    alex86 21 November 2012 20: 51
    But I will ask again (I did not receive an answer the previous time): at MAKS 2011, there was corrugation on the outer skin of the B-52 from the wing root forward and downward along the fuselage. Conclusion - the car has served well with heavy loads. Question: is it normal to fly with a corrugation on the skin, does it mean that the power set of the fuselage has "gone"? Can anyone say something without a joke?
    1. Professor
      21 November 2012 21: 31
      Show a photo, we will discuss
  9. alex86
    alex86 21 November 2012 22: 11
    Yes, I don’t have pictures, I just saw it, I’m not a fan of photographing everything that I see, and so I remember everything (for now). He was embarrassed to ask the Amer warriors, and what to embarrass people - and so it is clear that the old man is. I can describe it this way: the waves on the skin, the wavelength of each wave is about 500 mm, the direction of each wave is about 10 degrees from the horizontal forward-upward, while the set of waves parallel to each other is directed forward-downward from the wing root in front. The corrugation was visible in an oblique light (close to the tangent to the fuselage). It looked outwardly that when landing, the vertical speed was exceeded and the front of the fuselage slightly bent down. Sorry, but I can’t imagine anything graphic.
  10. gregor6549
    gregor6549 22 November 2012 06: 33
    And further. The respectful attitude of the Americans towards the decommissioned weapons evokes respect. They understand that in which case it is easier and cheaper to re-preserve this weapon and put it into operation instead of first disassembling and cutting it and then riveting a new one, which in war conditions may simply be unrealistic. Yes, and personnel for these "canned food" can be found from among those who have gone into the reserve or retired. And in the USSR, from time to time, stabbing was arranged and hundreds of combat units, completely ready for use, went under a knife or a bulldozer. Remember how many IL48 alone were crushed by tanks in the days of Khrushchev. I don’t even want to remember Gorbachev's "decimation". Himself under this knife. Forgive me, Lord, for bloodthirstiness.
  11. gregor6549
    gregor6549 22 November 2012 16: 42
    I beg your pardon. I mean IL28 and not IL48. Eyed
  12. -ш-
    -ш- 26 November 2012 18: 00
    when they teach him how to run for beer drinks
  13. Maxim_ok
    Maxim_ok 13 December 2018 16: 54
    SDB (GBU-39) has a flight range of 110 km (when dropped from high altitude)