The B-52 Stratofortress is a Cold War-era bomber and strategic weapons aircraft, which the United States Air Force continues to use, as of 2015. Its adaptability to evolving combat situations, munitions-carrying capacity and extensive travel range have contributed to its longevity and practical application over the years, making it the longest-serving bomber in U.S. military history.Continue Reading
Boeing designed and built the B-52 bomber after World War II with many setbacks in meeting the military���s performance requirements. The bomber took its maiden flight in 1952, and the Air Force first used it in 1955; it replaced the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. The B-52 bomber has seen many missions over the years, carrying nuclear weapons on long-range Cold War deterrence missions, conducting bombing runs in the Vietnam War, and providing close air support during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The B-52 can travel up to 650 mph and has a combat range of nearly 9,000 miles without needing to refuel, which it is capable of doing while airborne. It has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet and can carry nearly 70,000 pounds of mixed weaponry. Due to its continued reliability, low cost and usefulness in a variety of combat capacities, the B-52 has outlasted many more highly engineered aircraft, and the military has no plans to replace the utility bomber for decades to come.Learn more about Military