Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: American long-lived record holder among strategic bombers

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Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: American long-lived record holder among strategic bombers

Next year will mark 70 years since the American strategic bomber Boeing B-52 Stratofortress entered service with the US Air Force. At the same time, the first prototype of the “Stratospheric Fortress” took off three years earlier - in 1952.

It is worth noting that when developing this aircraft, Boeing designers could not even dream that the winged aircraft would be so successful. In addition, they hardly expected that the plane would “outlive” them.



Meanwhile, Stratofortress has several records to its credit. In particular, in May 1956, it became the first aircraft from which a hydrogen bomb was dropped. In November of the same year, he flew around North America via the North Pole, covering 27 thousand km.

Further more. In 1957, three B-52 Stratofortress flew around the world, covering almost 40 thousand km in 45 hours 19 minutes, moving at an average speed of 850 km/h. Finally, in 1962, the Stratospheric Fortress became the first aircraft in its class to fly 20 km without mid-air refueling.

Typically, created as a carrier for bombs with nuclear warheads, the B-52 was often used by the US Air Force for “carpet bombing” with conventional bombs. It has become the only aircraft in the world that can leave behind a piece of scorched earth measuring more than two square kilometers.

The American army most actively used its “strategists” during the war in Southeast Asia in the 60-70s of the last century. The aircraft was used for the so-called “scorched earth” tactics.



By the way, it was in the skies of South and North Vietnam that the B-52 Stratofortress lost its “invulnerable” title. In December 1972, during a massive raid on Hanoi, 6 American aircraft were shot down by Soviet S-75 systems, and the same number were damaged, which did not allow them to be returned to service in the future. A total of 90 vehicles took part in the air raid.

After that night, pilots at the Andersen base in the Mariana Islands (Guam) started something like a mutiny, calling on the command to reconsider the suicidal practice of massive bombing of areas with active air defense.

However, in Vietnam, American strategic bombers made more than 700 sorties, dropping more than 15 thousand tons of bombs on this country.

It is worth adding that deeply modernized B-52 Stratofortresses still serve in the US Air Force today. At the same time, the American command expects that these vehicles will not be removed from service until 2040.

5 comments
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  1. +1
    5 June 2024 17: 30
    We also did the UAZ “Loaf” the first time!
  2. +2
    5 June 2024 17: 30
    There were good engineering schools in those days in the USA, the USSR, and Germany. There is no point in being surprised by longevity.
  3. 0
    5 June 2024 23: 07
    and only Major Kong’s plane, which did not receive the all clear signal, continues to stubbornly break through to the reserve target
  4. +1
    6 June 2024 01: 32
    Next year will mark 70 years since the American strategic bomber Boeing B-52 Stratofortress entered service with the US Air Force. At the same time, the first prototype of the “Stratospheric Fortress” took off three years earlier - in 1952.
    By the way, the Tu-95 also made its first flight in 1952, although it entered service a little later in 1956.
  5. +1
    6 June 2024 10: 48
    Actually, 741 sorties and 15 tons of bombs are Linebacker-237 from December 2 to 18, 29.
    In total, in 1972, B-52s dropped more than 150 thousand tons of bombs on North Vietnam alone.