US Air Force to deploy B-52 bombers to replace B-1s that recently departed the Middle East region.
At some point in the near future, Avgeekery.com will post a story singing the praises and recounting the history of the B-52 – a venerable Air Force bomber from a different era which is nonetheless still a useful weapon in the American arsenal.
That fact was underscored by the recent news that the United States has deployed three B-52s to Moron Airbase in Spain. The three bombers were joined by about 200 support personnel and various other aircraft.
From The Washington Post: “It is uncommon for the large bombers to deploy to mainland Europe, since they usually take off from the United States, refuel, and carry out their assigned duties before returning to their home stations. In previous bomber deployments to the region, the aircraft have often been temporarily stationed out of the Royal Air Force Base in Fairford, England.”
The transfer of the three B-52s coincided with the U.S. Air Force pulling B-1 bombers from flying missions against ISIS. The B-1 “Bone(s)” have been flying missions since August; the crews and the planes needed a break to rest and re-fit.
While one of the candidates for President may think that most B-52 missions against ISIS will involve making the sand glow from carpet bombing, us avgeeks know that precision bombing is the name of the game these days. The B-52 has the ability to fire precision guided weapons at multiple targets with the ability to loiter for an extended time.
The B-52 Stratortress first went into service in 1954 as a long-range bomber designed to deliver nuclear weapons. With the resolution of the Cold War and advances in weapon systems, the eight-engine B-52s will are useful.
In May of last year, two B-52Hs flew a 30-hour, non-stop round trip mission from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to Wadi Shadiya. During the trip, the planes dropped strings of precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions in a mock attack on a practice range. JDAMs are the weapons that have been deployed from the B-1s during missions over Iraq and Syria.
The B-52’s nickname is BUFF – for Big, Fat Ugly Fellow. When and if the B-52s deployed to Spain start dropping JDAMs onto ISIS positions, it would be interesting to know what names the ISIS fighters will be calling the BUFFs.