50th anniversary for the B-52
29 Jun 2005
Fifty years ago on June 29, 1955, the first B-52 was delivered to the 4017th Combat Crew Training Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Wing at Caste AFB, Calif. The B-52 Stratofortress also known as 'Big Ugly Fat Fellow' or 'Buff' replaced the B-47 Stratojet, but continues to serve today and is expected to remain in service beyond 2040.
For more than 40 years, the B-52 has been the primary manned strategic bomber force for the United States. It is a long-range, heavy bomber capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet, and can carry nuclear or precision-guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
A total of 744 B-52s were built, with the last, a B-52H, delivered in October 1962. Only the H-model is still in the Air Force inventory and is assigned to Air Combat Command and the Air Force Reserve here and at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. The remainder of the 102 B-52Hs delivered have been subject to onging upgrades incorporating GPS, heavy stores adapter beams for carrying 2,000-pound munitions and additional smart weapons capability.