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THE DRAGON IS ALIVE Stratofortress Statistics A A T A OMY OF N B-52H Old military aircraft, such as these B-52 bombers, are stationed indefinitely at the “graveyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. (Photo: Getty Images) 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 DEPLOYED: 1962 is expected to remain in service until 2040. No CREW: Five (aircraft commander, pilot, other U.S. bomber has been called on to remain radar navigator, navigator, and electronic operational for more than 70 years. warfare officer) CONTRACTOR: Boeing Military Airplane Company THRUST: up to 17,000 pounds per engine WINGSPAN: 185 feet HEIGHT: 40 feet, 8 inches LENGTH: 159 feet, 4 inches CEILING: 50,000 feet RANGE: 8,800 miles SPEED: 650 mph (Mach 0.84) EMPTY WEIGHT: approximately 185,000 pounds ARMAMENT: approximately 70,000 pounds mixed ordnance: bombs, mines, and missiles, including nuclear-armed cruise missiles INVENTORY: active force, 58; reserve, 18 34 The B-52 is a long-range heavy bomber that flies 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. The B-52 can strike any target on Earth with air- launched cruise missiles armed with Los Alamos- designed W80 nuclear warheads. During a non- nuclear mission, the B-52 carries a large number and wide array of conventional weapons. No other U.S. weapon system offers the flexibility and versatility of the B-52. Los Alamos National Laboratory