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Stratofortress Statistics: Anatomy of a B-52

Introduced in 1954, the B-52 Stratofortress is the backbone of the U.S. strategic bomber force. With proper maintenance and upgrades, the B-52 is expected to remain in service until 2040.
December 1, 2016
Stratofortress Statistics: Anatomy of a B-52

The B-52H can carry up to 70,000 pounds of conventional and nuclear weapons, including the B61 nuclear bomb and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) armed with W80 nuclear warheads. Both the B61 and the W80 were designed by Los Alamos. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)


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  • Clay Dillingham
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No other U.S. weapon system offers the flexibility and versatility of the B-52.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can fly at subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet or as low as 50 feet. Fully fueled, the plane has a range of 8,800 miles; with aerial refueling the B-52’s range is limited only by the endurance of its crew.