Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Most Versatile Bomber Ever

B-17 and B-52
Imagine my surprise yesterday as I was reading the New York Times and came across an article titled, After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet

It was only just the other day that someone asked about my favorite aircraft and I told them that I had two, the B-17 and the B-52. No, I do not fancy the hot fighters that everyone is so enamored about. I have become a huge fan of the workhorses of the fleet--the aircraft designed to carry large payloads of weapons to ruin the day of our adversaries.

I found the following paragraph from the article most interesting:

Now in its 60th year of active service, the bomber is slow, primitive and weighed down by an infamy lingering from the carpet bombing of Vietnam in the 1960s. But 76 B-52s still make up the bulk of the United States’ long-range bomber fleet, and they are not retiring anytime soon. The next potential replacement — the Long Range Strike Bomber, which has yet to be designed — is decades away, so the B-52 is expected to keep flying until at least 2040. By then, taking one into combat will be the equivalent of flying a World War I biplane during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

B-52 Taking Off
The B-52 has grown from a Cold War warrior into an impressive power projection jet bomber that strikes fear into the hearts of adversaries everywhere. Why?

Because it can!

The are few things more impressive than watching B-52's roll down a runway and take-off with less than 30 seconds between each jet. I wonder if they still practice that. 

The B-52 will be about 80 years old, from their production dates, when they are retired in 2040. Somehow, I don't believe we will ever really be able to say good-bye to such a versatile warrior!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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