B-52s In The News
B-52 Arc Light Plaque Dedication May 1, 2015
The plaque shown below will be dedicated at USAFA, Doolittle Hall, at 1300 on 1 May. The dedication will be held inside Doolittle, second floor, and will be placed on a wall at the Southeast Asia Pavilion immediately after the ceremony.
We are very pleased with the sculptor’s work. I especially like the head-on view of the BUFF loaded with bombs.
Members of the B-52 Stratofortress Association are invited. People attending would need either military ID or be escorted by someone with ID to get to Doolittle Hall.
Vintage B-52 at OSHKOSH 2015 All Week
2015, 26 March
First on-the-ground diplay of massive Boeing bomber at AirVenture. (Read the whole article.)
Biggest Aircraft Graveyard in the World
2015, 17 February
Bing unveils interactive map to explore every yard of where planes go to die in amazing resolution. Over 2,600 acres. Read the whole article.
Mothballed B-52 Gets a Second Chance
2015, 17 February
Friday was historic at Barksdale AFB, when the first B-52 to ever rejoin the fleet after being mothballed landed following a unique flight from the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. (read the whole article and another here).
USAF Looking at B-52 Engine Options
2015, 12 February
The US Air Force is keeping an eye on options to re-engine its B-52 bombers, including the creation of a public-private partnership with an industry supplier, a top service official said. (read the whole article).
The B-52 Is Becoming a Terrifyingly Intelligent Smart Weapons Truck
2015, 16 January
Read the Foxtrot Alpha article on how the iconic 60 year old Stratofortress is finally getting a new 'smart' rotary weapons rack and other upgrades that will more than double its smart weapons punch.
Linebacker II Ceremony at Barksdale AFB in December
2012, 16 November
A link to the Global Strike Command Press Release:
B-52 Simulator in Wichita - Great Video!
2011, 16 December
Kansas Aviation Museum to Host Worlds Only Public B-52G Simulator
From Monday, December 26 through Sunday, December 31 from 10am to 5pm, the Kansas Aviation Museum will be host to the worlds only public access B-52G Simulator. The simulator replicates the experience of piloting the famous B-52 Buff with complete surround visuals and flight controls. For a sample of the experience, watch the following video:
This is the first ever functional B-52 simulator made available to the public.
Assembled for the USAF from a real B-52 cockpit manufactured by Boeing Wichita.
Take off from Nellis AFB and fly around Las Vegas
Up to four people in the cockpit per sim session
Pilot seat positions
$20.00 for ten minute session: this covers a solo flyer or two pilots can split the time for five minutes each at the controls. No limit to the number of ten minute sessions purchased.
Observer rear-seat positions
$5.00 to sit and observe the flight from inside the cockpit
$10.00 for two people to observe the flight from inside the cockpit
Regular admission to the museum is required at:
$7.00 senior (65+)
$6.00 child (4-12)
3 and under free
Reservations are filling up quickly, so call soon to save your spot. For additional information or to make a reservation, call:
Plans to Protect B-52 Crash Site in Maine
2011, 13 July
This story appeared in the Bangor Daily News on 9 July 2011:
B-52 Article in the Boeing Employee's Magazine
2011, 25 March
A story with photos was published in the March 2011 issue of Boeing Frontiers. The print issue is sent to employees and retirees.
This is a link to the pdf version of the story which requires a pdf reader. Adobe Acrobat reader can be downloaded from Adobe.com at no charge;
Billions for the Buff's Old Age?
2010, 15 October
.A response by Harry Bender who is a director of the association folows:
© Jim Dunnigan & www.StrategyPage.com. Reprinted with permission.
Billions For The BUFF's Old AgeOctober 12, 2010: Without any fanfare, the U.S. Air Force recently announced that it would spend $11.9 billion to keep its remaining B-52 bombers in service until they are all retired by 2040. At that point, the last ones will have served over 70 years. The new "sustainment program" will cost over $150 million per aircraft, which is about twice what they cost to build (accounting for inflation).
The reason for this investment in half century old aircraft has a lot to do with the fact that the B-52 is very capable, reliable, and cheap to operate. This is especially true compared to the aircraft built to replace it (the B-1B). The U.S. Air Force has been having a hard time keeping its 67 B-1B bombers ready for action. Two years ago, the availability rate (aircraft you can send into action) was about 51 percent. Seven years ago it was 56 percent. Progress is being made, but the B-52 is still more reliable. The B-1Bs are used to drop smart bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are particularly popular in Afghanistan, because you can put one in the air, and it can cover the entire country. While the B-1B is twice as expensive to operate (per hour in the air) than the B-52, the B-1B can more quickly move to a new target over Afghanistan.
B-52s are not only cheaper to maintain, they have a higher availability rate (65 percent.) As a result, the air force wants to keep 76 B-52s in service (despite a Congressional mandate to reduce that number to 56.) With the development of GPS guided bombs (JDAM), heavy bombers have become the most cost-effective way to deliver support to ground forces. The B-52 is the cheapest American heavy bomber to operate, and the oldest.
The new sustainment program includes continuing upgrades that are already in progress. This includes replacing the 30 year old APQ-166 strategic radar. The B-52 users would prefer to have a modern AESA (phased array) type radar, but the air force is reluctant to spend that much. That's because the radar upgrade will accompany the addition of new communications gear, to allow the B-52s to participate in the Internet like network the air force is creating for its aircraft. This also allows the warplanes to communicate with similar networks being built by the army and navy. The new sustainment program may give the B-52s even more advanced equipment after all.
The B-52 has had a lot of competition. In the last sixty years, the air force has developed six heavy bombers (the 240 ton B-52 in 1955, the 74 ton B-58 in 1960, the 47 ton FB-111 in 1969, the 260 ton B-70 in the 1960s, the 236 ton B-1 in 1985, and the 181 ton B-2 in 1992.) All of these were developed primarily to deliver nuclear weapons (bombs or missiles), but have proved more useful dropping non-nuclear bombs. Only the B-70 was cancelled before being deployed. The successors to the B-52 were more complex and expensive since they were designed to penetrate ever more formidable air defenses. The B-52 needs none of these improvements for the bombing missions against foes with no air defenses against high flying aircraft. Moreover, defense is now more a matter of electronics than higher speed or stealth. So the B-52 is still competitive, even against defended targets.
The well maintained and sustained B-52s are quite sturdy and have, on average, only 16,000 flying hours on them. The air force estimates that the B-52s won't become un-maintainable until they reach 28,000 flight hours. The B-1 and B-2 were meant to provide a high tech replacement for the B-52, but the end of the Cold War made that impractical. The kinds of anti-aircraft threats the B-1 and B-2 were designed to deal with never materialized. This left the B-52 as the most cost effective way to deliver bombs. The B-1s and B-2s are getting some of the same weapons carrying and communications upgrades as the B-52, if only because these more modern aircraft provide an expensive backup for the B-52.
The B-1B and B-2 are more expensive to operate because they haul around a lot of gear that is not needed for the current counter-terror operations. The B-1B can travel at high speed and very low altitude, to evade enemy air defenses. The B-2 is very difficult to detect on radar, but this ability is achieved with some expensive to maintain design features. Back in the 1950s, when the B-52 was designed, air warfare was a lot simpler, and so was the BUFF (Big, Ugly, Fat Fella, as the B-52 has long been known.) There are still potential enemies out there with Cold War grade air defenses, and the B-1s and B-2s are maintained to deal with that eventuality in mind.
Billions for the Buff's Old Age?-An Association Member's Response
2010, 15 October
From Harry Bender
Subject: Re: FW: Billions For The BUFF's Old Age
This press release has caused quite a stir and many hours of drafting point
papers. $11.9B has not been committed to the B-52. What happened is
Every effort needs a contract. If you have no contract vehicle, it
significantly adds time to getting something on contract.
The Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract provides a vehicle for
us to put things on contract faster once we have the funding and a
validated requirement. We can put up to $11.9B on contract over the next ten
years for things like radar replacement, anti-skid replacement, displays,
engines, hydraulic pumps, radios, etc - we made it very broad.
$2.3M was placed on contract 30 Sept with Boeing for some new computers for
the aircraft (roughly 30).
There is not $127M per plane getting spent anywhere.