B-52 photo gallery
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber.
The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, and has
a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) with aerial refueling.
The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Built to carry nuclear weapons for
Cold War-era deterrence missions.The B-52's official name Stratofortress is rarely
used; informally, the aircraft has become commonly referred to as the BUFF
(Big Ugly Fat Fucker).

Strategic bomber

National origin
United States


First flight
15 April 1952

February 1955

In service

Primary users
United States Air Force


Number built

Unit cost
B-52B: US$14.43 million
B-52H: US$9.28 million (1962)
B-52H: US$53.4 million (1998)

Developed into
Conroy Virtus
Originally planned by Boeing in 1946 as a B-50 Washington replacement,
the aircraft was to have heen a straight-winged bomber that
relied on turboprop engines due to the lack of available
powerplants capable of propeiling an intercontinental bomber.
However, the B-52 became a direct beneficiary of Pratt &
Whitney's fuel-efficient J57 turbojet, which was far superior
to its rivals in terms of performance and economy.
Redesigned with eight engines housed in four doublé pods
beneath swept wings, the prototype YB-52 completed lts first
flight on 15 April 1952. Initially built with tandem seating
for the pilot and co-pilot, production B-52As had a revised
side-by-side layout in an airliner style cockpit. Re-equipping
B-50 squadrons from March 1955, the B-52 was produced to
the tune of 744 airframes in eight sub-types. Numerically, the
most important of these was the B-52D (170], which played
a key role in the Vietnam War and was the backbone of
Strategie Air Command's Cold War nuclear bomber force into
the 1970s, and the B-52G [193 built], with its smaller fin and
remote-controlled tail guns.
The final production variant was the B-52H (102 built],
which was similar to the G-model except for its eight Pratt &
Whitney TF33 turbofan engines and 20mm cannon in the tail
turret, rather than four O.SOin machine guns. The B-52G saw
extensive combat in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, as it was
capable of employing conventional cruise missiles and iron
bombs. The G-models were retired from USAF service soon
afterwards, leaving just 90 B-52Hs equipping frontline units.
Like the B-52Gs, these aircraft are now capable of employing
both nuclear and conventional bombs and cruise missiles, and
have dropped/fired the latter in combat in Iraq, Kosovo and
Afghanistan. Surviving B-52Hs are set to serve until 2040.