Meet the Air Force’s B-52 Bomber, the ‘Old’ Bomber That Keeps Getting More Deadly

    Kris Osborn

    Security,

    Like as in more bombing capacity. 

    Known for massive bombing missions during the Vietnam War, the 159-foot long B-52s have in recent years been operating over Afghanistan in support of military actions there from a base in Guam. The B-52 also served in Operation Desert Storm, Air Force statements said.  “B-52s struck wide-area troop concentrations, fixed installations and bunkers, and decimated the morale of Iraq’s Republican Guard,” an Air Force statement said.

    The Air Force is also making progress with a technology-inspired effort to increase the weapons payload for the workhorse B-52 bomber.

    The 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade, or IWBU, will allow the B-52 to internally carry up to eight of the newest “J-Series” bombs in addition to carrying six on pylons under each wing.

    The B-52 have previously been able to carry JDAM weapons externally, but with the IWBU the aircraft will be able to internally house some of the most cutting edge precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, among others.

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    “It is about a 66 percent increase in carriage capability for the B-52, which is huge. You can imagine the increased number of targets you can reach, and you can strike the same number of targets with significantly less sorties,” the Air Force official said.

    Also having an increased internal weapons bay capability affords an opportunity to increase fuel-efficiency by removing bombs from beneath the wings and reducing drag.

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