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26 Facts About B-52
The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades.
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The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command until it was disestablished in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command ; in 2010, all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the new Air Force Global Strike Command.
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The B-52 completed 60 years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015.
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In July 2013, the USAF began a fleet-wide technological upgrade of its B-52 bombers called Combat Network Communications Technology to modernize electronics, communications technology, computing, and avionics on the flight deck.
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The first phase will allow a B-52 to carry twenty-four GBU-38 500-pound guided bombs or twenty GBU-31 2,000-pound bombs, with later phases accommodating the JASSM and MALD family of missiles.
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B-52 shared many technological similarities with the preceding B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber.
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In September 2006, the B-52 became one of the first US military aircraft to fly using alternative fuel.
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On 15 December 2006, a B-52 took off from Edwards with the synthetic fuel powering all eight engines, the first time a USAF aircraft was entirely powered by the blend.
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The navigational capabilities of the B-52 were later augmented with the addition of GPS in the 1980s.
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The B-52 was to have been modified to utilize Northrop Grumman's AGM-137 TSSAM weapon; however, the missile was canceled due to development costs.
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The B-1 has the internal weapons bay space to carry more GBU-31 JDAMs and JASSMs, but the B-52 upgraded with the conventional rotary launcher can carry more of other JDAM variants.
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Eight engines of the B-52 are paired in pods and suspended by four pylons beneath and forward of the wings' leading edge.
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The training for B-52 crews consisted of five weeks of ground school and four weeks of flying, accumulating 35 to 50 hours in the air.
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The B-1, intended to supplant the B-52, replaced only the older models and the supersonic FB-111.
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B-52 strikes were an important part of Operation Desert Storm.
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On 24 March 1999, when Operation Allied Force began, B-52 bombers bombarded Serb targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including during the Battle of Kosare.
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B-52 contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, providing the ability to loiter high above the battlefield and provide Close Air Support through the use of precision guided munitions, a mission which previously would have been restricted to fighter and ground attack aircraft.
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B-52 can be highly effective for ocean surveillance, and can assist the Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations.
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The B-52 fleet has been certified to use Quickstrike family of naval mines using JDAM-ER guided wing kits.
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The B-52 has continued in service because there has been no reliable replacement.
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The B-52 has the capacity to "loiter" for extended periods, and can deliver precision standoff and direct fire munitions from a distance, in addition to direct bombing.
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On 12 November 2015, the B-52 began freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea in response to Chinese man-made islands in the region.
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B-52 went through several design changes and variants over its 10 years of production.
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B-52 carrying nuclear weapons was a key part of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 black comedy film Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
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