For more than a half century, B-52 Stratofortresses have been the backbone
of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States. The bomber is
capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet
(15,166.6 meters). The use of aerial refueling gives the B-52 a range
limited only by crew endurance. It has an unrefueled combat range in
excess of 8,800 miles. It can carry nuclear or precision guided
conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
Updated with modern technology the B-52 will be capable of delivering the
full complement of joint developed weapons and will continue into the 21st
century as an important element of our nation's defenses.
The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in
1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, delivered in
October 1962. Current engineering analyses show the B-52's life span to
extend beyond the year 2045. During the Vietnam period, it acquired
its popular nickname, "Buff" - Big Ugly Fat Fella, but some maintain the
second "f" stands for something else.