Air Force Begins Massive B-52 Overhaul

Air Force Begins Massive B-52 Overhaul

The U.S. Air Force is in the early phases of a massive, fleet-wide technological upgrade of its B-52 bombers, giving the war-tested platform new electronics and an increased ability to carry weapons, service officials said.

Two distinct, yet interwoven B-52 modernization efforts will increase the electronics, communications technology, computing and avionics available in the cockpit while simultaneously configuring the aircraft with the ability to carry up to eight of the newest “J-Series” precision-guided weapons internally – in addition to carrying six weapons on each wing, said Eric Single, Chief of the Global Strike Division, Acquisition.

While most of the current inventory of B-52 bombers, a workhorse aircraft with a distinguished history, were initially fielded in the 1960’s, various upgrades over the years have kept the on-board technology current, Single explained.

The Air Force is quick to emphasize its now-in-development next-generation Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, to be operational sometime during the 2020’s. At the same time, the service wants to be sure to maximize the usefulness of its inventory of B-52s for their remaining years.

“Their structure, service life and air frames are good until around 2040. They are built very strong structurally. This is not a structural modification, but upgrades to the capabilities and the avionics,” Single explained.

Single added that many of the B-52 air frames may hold up well beyond 2040, depending upon the level of use of the aircraft.

However, the current ongoing electronics and communications upgrade, called Combat Network Communications Technology, or CONECT, will bring a whole new capability to the fleet of B-52s.

“What it does it is it installs a digital architecture in the airplane,” Single explained. “Instead of using data that was captured during the mission planning phase prior to your take off 15 to 20 hours ago – you are getting near real time intelligence updates in flight.”

In particular, Single explained that the CONECT upgrades include software and hardware such as new servers, modems, radios, data-links, receivers and digital workstations for the crew.

Some of the individual elements include the ARC-210 Warrior, a beyond-line-of-sight software programmable radio able to transmit voice, data and information in real time between the B-52s and ground command and control centers.

“It is a software programmable radio. You can use it for voice but the big advantage is the digital data transfer capability,” said Single.

The radio allows for the transmission and receipt of data packets and files with updated intelligence, mapping or targeting information while the aircraft is in flight, Single explained.

“The crew gets the ability to communicate digitally outside the airplane which enables you to import not just voice but data for mission changes, threat notifications, targeting….all those different types of things you would need to get. The biggest capability is machine to machine transfer of that data. In the past, if you had a target change in flight you got it over the radio and you copied down the coordinates,” Single said.

Single explained that being able to update key combat-relevant information while in transit will substantially help the aircraft more effectively travel longer distances for missions, as needed.

“The key to this is that this is part of the long-range strike family of systems — so if you take off out of Barksdale Air Force Base and you go to your target area, it could take 15 or 16 hours to get there. By the time you get there, all the threat information has changed,” said Single. “Things move, pop up or go away and the targeting data may be different.”

Mentioning the vast geographical expanses that characterize the Pacific theater, Single explained that the CONECT upgrades will help the aircraft adjust to the service’s broader “re-balance” to the Pacific.

Computer screens in the cockpit will provide digital moving maps of nearby terrain as well as graphics showing the aircraft’s flight path.  Also, while not part of the CONECT upgrade, the plane’s radar, the AN/APQ-166, is able to provide the crew with all-weather capability. The mechanically scanned array can provide a rendering of nearby terrain and also help connect the plane to an air-to-air refueling tanker in bad weather, Single explained.

The upgrades will also improve the ability of the airplane to receive key intelligence information through a data link called the Intelligence Broadcast Receiver. In addition, the B-52s will be able to receive information through LINK-16, a known high-speed digital data link able to transmit targeting and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or ISR information.

The CONECT effort, slated to cost $1.1 billion overall, will unfold over the next several years, Single explained. Funding for the CONECT upgrades for the first 30 B-52’s is currently in place and Air Force plans include subsequent upgrades of 10 B-52 upgrades per year in each of the next several years. Upgrades plans, budgets and timeframes for the remainder of the fleet beyond the initial 30 are still being determined, Single explained. The first eight CONECT upgrades for B-52s were put on contract this past March.

One analyst said the upgraded B-52s could provide essential precision-bombing capabilities over areas where the U.S. has already established air superiority or where there is little or no defenses against high-altitude bombers.

“You have an airframe that is fantastic and a classic for the ages. These upgrades are what the name of the game is – real time targeting information and being able to get a totally different task in flight. That is a break-through,” said Richard Aboulafia, Vice President of analysis at the Teal Group, a Virginia-based consultancy.

“High speed data links are the future. Net-centric warfare is all about harnessing off-board sensors, whether it comes from satellites or a  [Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System]. There is a constellation of targeting information available today.”

Weapons Upgrade

The Air Force is also making progress with a technology-inspired effort to increase the weapons payload for the workhorse bomber, Single added.

The 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade, or IWBU, will allow the B-52 to internally carry up to eight of the newest  “J-Series” bombs in addition to carrying six on pilons under each wing, he explained. The B-52 have previously been able to carry some bombs internally, but with the IWBU the aircraft will be able to internally house some of the most cutting edge precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, among others.

“It is about a 66 percent increase in carriage capability for the B-52, which is huge. You can imagine the increased number of targets you can reach, and you can strike the same number of targets with significantly less sorties,” said Single.

IWBU, which uses a digital interface and a rotary launcher to increase the weapons payload, is now finishing up the Technology Development phase and poised to move into the next phase of development this summer, he said.

The IWBU effort is expected to cost roughly $313 million, service officials said.

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Public Affairs clowns not knowing their subject material?

“…configuring the aircraft with the ability to carry up to eight precision guided and conventional munitions internally – in addition to carrying six on each wing, said Eric Single, Chief of the Global Strike Division, Acquisition.…“
”.…The 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade, or IWBU, will allow the B-52 to internally carry up to eight bombs in addition to carrying six on pilons under each wing…”

Y’all get that? apparently all those previous pics we’ve ever seen of B-52s loaded out with massive underwing and internal stores have been photoshopped, it appears.
Apparently all those pics of the 1980s nuke variants loaded with ALCMs were faked, too.
Apparently those pics of naval strike trials showing 6 packs of Harpoons under each wing were faked as well.
According this guy, it’s implied the B-52 couldn’t carry 6 + 6 +8 prior to this upgrade.
Guess all those previous JDAM drops musta been faked as well?

Clever deception all these years, Air Force.

Wrong decision. With all the budget cuts (-10%), the Air Force should be mothballing the B-52’s. It’s been a working horse and finally needs to be retired. That would save the mods, depot maintenance, and operations costs. Plus cut all military personnel flying, supporting and “managing” this aircraft. A few good decisions like this and the Air Force will cover its budget reductions, and the rest of the Air Force will be okay. Time for some Air Force leadership.

uh… hey “d.kellogg”…are you COMPLETELY incapable of reading proper English? When the words “in addition to” are used in the statement by the Chief of the Global Strike Division he is saying that the six under each wing ARE ALREADY IN USE. They have been in use since the planes were first manufactured. Now they are going to upgrade the INTERNAL carrying capabilities. 3 paragraphs over your inability to read.

Wow, looks like you cleverly deceived your teachers, huh?

The updated and improved data links needed for each hardpoint are being added so that the PRECISION guided weapon can receive the needed targeting info from both the aircraft and everything it is linked to using the new (to this A/C at least) Link-16 system.

Apparently clowns don’t just work in the PA office.

What? I thought that we are in the age of stealth and that any non-stealth aircraft are worth crap-that’s what the air force has been selling all these years. Now they want to spend millions upgrading each one they have? Wow! stupid is as stupid does

Second question, what future theater of operations do they expect this monster aircraft to operate in, certainly not in the far east again China? The land wars in the “Stan and Iraq are done so we don’t send to drop bombs on those easy targets any more do we?

Lastly, I can’t believe the air force has any money left after spending so much on the endless F-35 program

Some things never get old. I guess the B-52 is one of those things.

What does it mean when the USAF are staking their legitimacy on an aircraft that entered service when Eisenhower was President?

Eisenhower is dead, and his successor is dead, and his successor’s successor is dead, and his successor’s successor’s successor is dead, and his successor’s successor’s successor’s successor is dead, and why are we carrying on this necrophiliac charade?

The BUFF is an absolutely amazing aircraft. Woefully long out of date and due for retirement.

DEAR B-52 & Crew
Glad to see your going to be around awhile.

For the price of modernizing them now, we could only buy 4 new bombers. The airframes still have plenty of service life, and until the core frames start to wear out, it’ll still be a cost-effective bomb truck. The equally old C135s are still in service by the hundreds for the same reasons. Cargo and bomb trucking don’t require a state-of-the-art aircraft, just a cost effective one.

The B-52 has been serving us well since it’s debut in 1863 where it turned the tide of the Civil War.

It’s like putting old wine in a new bottle. It won’t change the fact that the B-52 has a HUGE radar signature which precludes it from ever venturing into any even modestly-defended airspace. The B-52 is useful ONLY in environments where the opponents are insurgents or primitive countries unable to contest control of the air. It’s an old piece of junk. Time to retire it. The sooner, the better.

Can’t do that unless you have new bombers to replace it with. Currently those only exist on the drawing board.

The B-52 also serves as a cruise missile carrier where it is survivable enough.


BOmbers, in order to reach their targets, MUST BE state-of-the-art aircraft. Specifically, they must be very SURVIVABLE. And today, that means being very stealthy, very fast, and able to penetrate at low and medium (if not high) altitudes. The B-52 is none of those things. It can’t survive in anything other than the most benign environments, where the only opponents are insurgents unable to contest control of the air.

Which is why it is imperative to develop and field the NGB in large numbers ASAP.

Why don’t all you geniuses tell us all about what happened to the BONE / B-1 Lancer…???…
Isn’t a B-1 basically a 21st Century BUFF…???…

And replace its functionality with…?

The B-1B and B-2 are far more expensive to operate, are less frequently available due to high maintenance requirements (especially the B-2 with its delicate stealth skin), and in the case of the B-2 have less of a payload capacity.

There was a guy spreading a rumor about a B-1M (why M?) that replaced the current engines with F119s from the F-22. In order to do that, they’d conceivably fix the intakes so the B-1 would go supersonic again. Maybe they’d even make the intake ramps work again. Seems like a lot better change to make than adding Link 16 to Buffs.

Given the 30 year fiasco the US taxpayer has to fund for the Air Force to field a new fighter jet, one has to wonder how long this new bomber program will drag on. 40, 50 years maybe? I guess they’d better hope the B-52 can hang on past 2040.

Post of the year. LOL.

Do you realize how much EW, and eventually anti air and missile defenses one of these could carry?

Ignoring that the idea is to Secure the air early. This is done with top of the line stealth aircraft like the F-22 and bombers like the B-1 and B-2. Then everything else comes in and takes over.

Not everything needs to be a 200,000,000 dollar stealth aircraft to go that route is stupid you end up with a ever decreasing force capable of doing less and less strategically and overall to expensive to operate or risk.

Considering the last few aircraft programs, ASAP = at least 10 years. The NGB is still mostly a classified powerpoint program.

Classic bombs-on-target paradigms require the bomber to penetrate enemy defenses to drop their payloads. In the old days, this was high or low altitude and high speed to make it quick.

We know that as of Vietnam, flying high is a bad idea, and with look-down shoot down, simply flying low is also a bad idea.

The bombers of the future MUST be stealth or carry massive EW packages. The B-52 can survive as an ALCM carrier. It will fight from afar like an peltast, but if attacked directly the odds of survival are very slim indeed. B-52s will drop bombs only when the enemy is too afraid to use targeting radars, or is unable to acquire the BUFF as a target. When will that be?

The B-52 is the plane you use one you have air superiority. It’s why I called it a bomb truck and not a strategic bomber, however maintaining a fleet of cheap bomb trucks allows you to focus the more expensive and rare aircraft on priority target. Once the area is clear of advanced defenses, the B-52 is every bit as good as the other bombers in the arsenal, and is much cheaper.

To be fair, the old BUFF can mount a very large EW suite. Still, the use of the B-52 now is as a second-line bomber. B-1s, B-2s, and strike craft will be the front-line planes, pushing in and attacking SAM sites and airbases. It’s immune to MANPADS and AAA due to height, so once you can deny fighters to an area, and take out heavy SAMs, you can then transfer to the BUFF to support the fight on the ground while the first-line planes go and secure another sector of airspace.

The B-1R program is what it was. Fit F119s, mount an AESA radar, and fit AMRAAMS to the external hardpoints. Mach 2.2 speed, 20% less range. Was designed for the interim bomber project that was canceled in 2006.

Forget about the B-52. Congress needs to demand the fielding of new ICBMs and warheads. Where are those GOP chickenhawks? Ridiculous.

Yea it suck the Merrimack and Monitor right? :)


No mention of new engines. Yikes. Is there anything else, that’s still airborne, powered by what — J-52s?

every estimate I have seen puts the B-1B as the cheapest option

There is some information about the R on wikipedia now (http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​R​o​c​k​w​e​l​l​_​B​-​1​_​L​a​n​cer). Would have been one hell of an airplane. Too bad it never saw the light of day.

It was a low-bypass-ratio engine built around the J57’s service-proven core. The JT3 made its first flight on a Boeing 707–120 aircraft on June 22, 1960. Shortly thereafter, McDonnell Douglas selected it for versions of the DC-8. — See more at: http://​www​.pratt​-whitney​.com/​J​T​3​D​_​T​F​3​3​_​E​n​g​ine

The engines are crap. They should replace the 8 with 4 CF-6’s like they put on the C-5M.

Kellog was educated in Arkansas. According to union rules; they teach students to understand every other word; it cuts down on the teacher’s work-load.


Your arguments are your own subjective opinion. When you answer your questions with your own subjective opinion, you are engaging in circular thinking. Arguments based on circular thinking, are worthless.

Stupid is, as stupid does.


You’re begging the question. You’re assuming that the Air force is staking it’s legitimacy “on an aircraft that entered service when Eisenhower was President.” Upgrading the B 52 bomber fleet does not effect the Air Force’s legitimacy. The Air Force would be legitimate, even if it didn’t have one B52 in it’s arsenal.

You continue your senseless rant with an irrelevant, subjective opinion, and further beg the question by assuming that the upgrades are a “necrophiliac charade.”

Unless you have a background in evaluating the air-worthiness of combat aircraft, then your opinions are nothing more then three paragraphs of worthless drivel.

There was a plan for doing a re-engine of the plane, but died due to the end of the cold war. They were going to fit 4 F117s from the C-17 on it. Shame it was scrapped.
http://​i27​.tinypic​.com/​2​0​j​j​u​5​c​.​jpg — Picture of the testbed fitted with one F117.

And I still use a fork and knife of a type first designed several hundred years ago. The B-52 is a versatile long range truck that can handle a large payload. Its eventual replacement will do well to match its longevity.


Considering they want this sucker in the air until 2040, it would make sense to re-engine with an /extant/ aircraft engine.

Leaning towards using them as ALCM carriers. Fire missiles at known targets, throw in some door-kicking fighters, then fly into the mess and drop bombs as needed.

Parasite fighters would be an idea, but external carry directly competes with ALCM load, and carrying them internally means less bombs. Though a high-altitude glide-bomber is also an option…

B-52s have been dropping precision guided weapon for years.
The first were LGB variants (PaveWay types), then came ALCMs (not going to count Skybolts: oneonly needed “city-sized precision” where megaton nukes were concerned), then again, Harpoons and newer increments of laser homing bombs.
GPS-guided JDAMs have even been deployed (limited IOC) from B-52s back in 1998, considerably before this article was written.

Fact checking is NOT a complex task.
Unless perhaps there is a completely different definition of “precision weapon” that none of these previous smart bombs and missiles fall under.
The only really “new” ones will be JSOWs and that F-35-capable Dutch missile.

Wrong country.
Guess your ability to query any given individual and determine their nationality is only limited to those chincy internet IP checkers?

Please don’t apply for an intel job with your government.

Hey Arkius, it’s called a “forum” The idea is the discuss the issue, to debate, to disagree, to point out faults, to praise, to question, to raise other issues, etc.

If you don’t like someone’s posting then offer up and intelligent response, you know point and counter point.

Let me make it real simple, prove me wrong with your own counter points,. Just like in a debate, if you can prove the other’s points are invalid then you win the debate.

that may be true JCross, but perhaps you can point out any possible future scenarios where
the B-52 will work. Certainly not against a peer or near peer.

the new bomber will be fielded in 2045, just in time for WW IV

–it will have a cloacking devise
–carry frickin lasers
–fhoton torpedoes, er cruise missiles
–cost 1 trillion dollars each
–and it will only be 400 feet long with a wingspan of 300 feet
–carry 200 fully equiped sky rangers
–and it will not only fly in the air but under water too
–and thankfully, it will be built by LockheadMartnGrummanBoeingBAE ;-P

Sure, that’s what the bomber is supposed to do now. Just wait until 2045 when it finally becomes “operational”. At that point all it will do is drop bombs, and if you want it to drop precision bombs you’ll need to pay extra for the “fricken laser upgrade”. I mean, hell, it’s not like these defense contractors are just getting out of the box with this scam. They’ve been running it now since the early 1990s. They really know how to push the limits at this point.

The network capability upgrade is consistent with what is happening on other platforms, notably the ‘tactical Tomahawk’. The inclusion of JDAM in an internal rotary launcher is overdue. Additional hardpoint based carrying capacity is good for shorter range missions — fewer aircraft doing the same duty, lower operating cost, the only worry is air frame stress, and the B-52 is built like a tank.

I see the arguments against this. Having built four of the very fast B-1A, then a hundred of the less speedy B-1B, then just twenty one of the stealthy, subsonic B-2 Spirit, the Air Force has learned a few things. Smart weapons have put an end to the strategic bomber’s role but a long range, high capacity smart weapon dispenser is still quite useful. The B-52’s future role is similar to that of a light, fast warship rather than a heavy bomber.

We’re going to be glad we did this rather than wasting a massive amount of money on some fusion of what the B-1B and B-2 can do, and we’ll wish we had done the same with A-10 Thunderbolt.

The F117 was probably a closer match to the thrust levels of the 2 JT3’s, but they have a hell of a time getting the old Buff off the ground with the current engines and a full bomb load. The CF-6 engines they put on the C-5M were flat rated to 50,000 lbs thrust. A little fixing up of the wing pylon attachment structure should allow the B-52 to hold 4 of those. It would probably damn near double the range and at least double the number of airfields the B-52 could operate out of.

When I was on active duty with the deactivated SAC there was talk of refitting the B52 with 747 engines but it cost too much money at the time. To me this seems like a logical upgrade. Modern engines would really improve the capabilities of “The Buff.”

An expensive attempt by the air farce to keep their relevance for anything except cargo and troop hauling Even that could be done by the individual services. As for the USAF’s fighter air craft to few, to complex, to expensive. Did I get the to right or is it too.

USN Ret.

Please explain how the mighty USN carrier fleet is any more survivable (not to mention limited airpower) in a high threat area than any bomber or fighter in any service? Really—talk about your limited capability in “hot areas”

Are you kidding! This is the only aircraft in the inventory that reall works. Forget your left wing attitiude and use some common sense. They already made a mistake getting rigd of the g models.

Thought they had to shred them for arms control. It was either shred a G or shred a B-1B.

Suprised B-52s haven’t received more engine upgrade love. That said, they could probably get by on cannibalizing engines from Davis Monathan, which sounds very short-term to me.

Pickett’s Charge was repelled by a timely Arc Light strike. The Battle of the Crater was another one.

You almost got it right the company will be Lockheed Grumman Thales Boeing LLC , All of the other companies will have been long forgotten. It will be primarily a law and lobbyiest firm Know by its acronym LGTB LLC.

talk to crew chiefs, the B-1 is a maintenance nightmare.

Graveyard zoomies.…she served immensely well.…newer aircraft time, B-1 (rts), B-2; B-707 reconfig with newer kicka*s*s* engines..there are ways.…

ok, let’s consider the facts

air force bases:
–fixed target,
–known location
–very soft, easy to kill
–zero defenses

–fast, mobile target
–unknown location
–hard to kill, multiple layers of armor and defenses
–best defense on the planet Aegis cruiser and destroyers, submarines, etc

…“too” is also…like, too many, too few, etc…“to” just means like “go to”, “want to”…
…and you should capitalize it, like this: Air Farce…lol…
&the Navy & USMC fighter aircraft are ALL too few, too complex, & too expensive!…

In 1972 I was stationed at Loring AFB because it was the first B52 base to go operational with the SRAM (Short Range Attack Missile). At that time the full payload capacity was classified, but anyone could come out on Armed Forces Day and observe a bird loaded with 6 missiles on each wing pylon and an 8 missile rotary launcher in the bomb bay. 6+6+8=20 in 1972. So I don’t know what the big deal is about the implication that the number of warheads is being increased. The definition of “Precision” changes with technology — the Norden bombsight of WWII was considered “Precision” at the time. The SRAM was considered “Precision” in my day (but it carried a nuke warhead — you know what we say about horseshoes, hand grenades, and nukes).

As for smarts, at that time the avionics folks told us the guidance system on the SRAMs told the B52 where IT was (and argued among themselves because the ones on the right wing knew they were about 60 feet from the ones on the left wing). I have no doubt that there have been subsequent upgrades to the B52 avionics, and that this is one more in a long series of upgrades.

The old super heated steam driven high bypass turbojets were pretty efficient in their era, but the coal fired boilers powering those were heavy, didn’t leave much useful payload.

B-1 is the money eater here. The B-2 and B-52 have much much lower maintenance cost than the old Lancer has.The Air Force is making the right decision. I hope to see BUFFs fly past 2040 too.

Mr Dean is wrong the B-52 and its ALCOM and soon new nuclear stealth missiles is perfect for the far east. Steal doesn’t matter soon. Russia and China made new radars that can detect stealth planes any way. Good stand off capability works well as much as fly over and bomb uses.

Glad to see the old BUFF get some needed upgrades and attention. Hope they eventually get new engines for them.

Compare the vulnerability of a carrier strike group to that of land bases.

If the enemy cannot get at your land bases but can get at your ships, then obviously the air force is less vulnerable. If the enemy has HE BM’s and can crater your runways from afar, but lacks the surveillance capability to find your CV’s plus the means to destroy them while underway, then the carrier fleet is less vulnerable. There is no easy answer to which is more vulnerable, and it depends on the force structure and the attacker in every situation.

B-52s can launch from safe bases outside the TBM threat ring and carry a very large load of penetrating weapons which can be released without going into the teeth of the enemy IADS. There are multiple scenaros were a theater commander would love to have that capability.

Boeing later suggested re-engining the B-52H fleet with the Rolls-Royce RB211 535E-4.[104] This would involve replacing the eight Pratt & Whitney TF33s (total thrust 8 × 17,000 lb) with four RB211s (total thrust 4 × 37,400 lb); which would increase range and reduce fuel consumption, at a cost of approximately US$2.56 billion for the whole fleet (71 aircraft at $36 million each). A Government Accountability Office study concluded that Boeing’s estimated savings of US$4.7 billion would not be realized and that it would cost US$1.3 billion over keeping the existing engines; citing significant up-front procurement and re-tooling expenditure, and the RB211’s higher maintenance cost. The GAO report was subsequently disputed in a Defense Sciences Board report in 2003; the Air Force was urged to re-engine the aircraft without delay.[105] Further, the DSB report stated the program would have significant savings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase aircraft range and endurance; in line with the conclusions of a separate Congress-funded study conducted in 2003.[106] The re-engining has not been approved as of 2010.

Interesting to see the squids think putting all your eggs in one basket is a smart tactic. It must be scary to know that the days of the carrier battlegroups roaming the oceans with no direct challenge are coming to an end. I imagine it must feel much like the battleships felt in World War 2 when carrier warfare changed seapower.

“Dark Star” anyone?

There are two weapons that our enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other mid-east places really, really hate and fear. One is the Apache helicopter — one of the nastiest pieces of equipment ever fielded. The other is the B-52. I still can’t entirely wrap my head around Close Air Support with a strategic bomber! But the B-52 can loiter over a battle field for literally days, out of sight at altitude, waiting for some grunt to call in for help, and then plop a GPS– or laser-guided munition right on the bad-guys head.

The B-1B and the B-2 are used when we aren’t sure of air superiority, or need to move really fast (the B-1B is also used for close-air support and the first thing that the pilots typically do is a low-level pass over the bad guys at 700 knots — that is usually enough to scare the crap out of them by itself). But the loiter time and the sheer payload tonnage on the B-52 is very, very valuable.

1) The stealth aircraft are very expensive to operate and maintain and used primarily when we don’t have air superiority or over hot battlefields. Once the Eagles and Raptors have gained air superiority we typically don’t use them and shift to the relatively cheaper B-52’s.

2) Don’t forget, strategic bombers have a LOT of missions nowadays. The Gulf and Iraq wars really matured the integration of the ground forces and the Air Force, and close-air-support is now an integral function. Sometimes this is done with A-10’s, but just as often it’s done with a B-52 or B-1B loitering overhead with precision munitions.

In addition, the B-52’s are our primary launch platforms for air-launched cruise missiles (since these are typically launched from outside of enemy airspace) and anti-ship missiles.

The airframes are old, the rest of the aircraft — however, especially the electronics — is brand new.

Radar signature is only a problem when we don’t have air superiority over the battle field. Up to that point, we use the B2 and B1B platforms. (The B-52 is quite capable of defending itself against SAMS). Once the Raptors and Eagles have control of the air, the B-52, with its enormous payload, can move in.

Hah, the Navy still regrets converting from sail to steam!
Talk to the Army and the Marines about how useless the Air Force is (not). They seem to really appreciate close-air support, not to mention removing enemy fighter/bombers from the skies.

The old saw about the Soviet tank commanders meeting in Berlin and wondering “who won the air war” is really not appropriate any longer. A bomber may not be able to hold ground like a tank, but it can bloody well make sure that you can’t hold it either! Not when I can drop a laser-guided round down your exhaust tube, a penetrator on your command bunker, or a batch of cluster munitions on your troop convoy (all from the same plane in short succession).

Blue on blue, so to speak?

Fuggitabout it. In a few more years all pplanes will be flown by someone with a joy stick thousands of miles back. No more pilots will be needed.

This applies to, say, WW2 or the nuclear exchange the B-52 was designed for. Since 1945, the nearest the USAF has faced to an equal opponent was 1991, when the BUFF was heavily used — escorted successfully by F-15s.
However, I can’t help seeing parallels to US navalists writing long and apparently plausible arguments to recommission the Iowa class battleships: I’d ask ‘In your heart of hearts, if someone demolished your case, would you admit you’ve lost the argument?‘
It’s only partly because of this, tho, that the ’52 will carry on in active service a long while yet.

Not sure why all these folks hate on the Buff, it can do so many things. It might be the best investment in DOD as far as longevity, capability, and fire power.

Indeed. That is why a flexible force is necessary. “Do not bet on one horse”

It does sounds strange. An airplane from the ’50 going strong until 2040!!!
But it still can serve its purpose. It won’t be flying over high threat areas. But its arsenal of stand-off weapons will do a whole lot of damage to let say airfields, harbours’ etc.

And I assume that the Air force will have enough protection in the air if the Buffs are in the air. Any army/nation will take these Giants in consideration. And that’s the strengths off the B52’s.

You are dead wrong. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

A high degree of stealthiness will be a requirement throughout an ENTIRE air campaign. The old “model” of “winning” air superiority, whereby a small “bullet force” of F-22s and B-2s will suffice to punch a small hole through an enemy air defense system through which nonstealthy aircraft will fly, has by now become completely obsolete, thus making nonstealthy aircraft completely useless, irrelevant, and impotent.

This is for 2 reasons:

1) There are simply too many air defense batteries to be taken out for a small “bullet force” of F-22s and B-2s to suffice. (Not to mention, too many targets other than air defense systems.)
2) Today, all air defense systems except some SA-2, SA-3, and SA-5 variants (which are less and less used around the world) are highly mobile, able to relocate within minutes rather than hours or days, meaning there are NO MORE “fixed” air defense system “lines” — if you punch a hole, another air defense battery will plug it quickly.

Face it. Stealthiness will be a requirement THROUGHOUT the campaign, in order to survive in any defended airspace.

The B-1B is not stealthy at all. It has a large radar signature and thus cannot be used in any defended airspace.

To me, the concern is the Russians exporting new radars or upgrading old missiles, not just their new missiles+radar systems. The older Vietnam era missiles will still bat aircraft out of the sky. The new battle is detecting the targets from farther and farther away, out to the maximum range of your missiles and ideally beyond the range of an aircraft’s capability of striking land targets.

The Serbian experience of using decoys and the Iraqi trapping of the 101st’s AH-64 aviation unit suggest that we can still blunder into traps, even if we have SEAD down pat.

Bomb truck. Been doing it for decades why quit now? In A-stan it turned the tide quick back in 2001-02. Keep em flying..

Best investment ever maybe. Over 50 yrs of service.

I believe that the radar cross-section of the B-52 is 158 feet, vs: something like 2–3 cm for a F-22 and 10 cm for a B-1. (And the Russians (and the Iranians) have radar and SAM seekers that can detect the latter.

The most quantitative way to measure RCS would be in decibels. As part of Lockheed’s PR campaign, they introduced the marble as a means of showing how stealthy the F-117 would be: “On our test radar, it has the same RCS as this marble here!”

And with all things, an RCS measured is really only as good as the experimental conditions you measured them with. Radar from 1988? Check. How close is the apparatus to the test stand? What faces are being measured? And presumably improvements in DSP and hardware bring down signal/noise, meaning you can measure lower and lower decibels, even with a radar of similar power and wavelength.

The F-117 layman’s “cross section” numbers are unlikely to be the same: in principle, you’d have to measure everything with a contemporary or standard setup to be able to fairly compare multiple aircraft across timespans.

Sure, but you don’t use the actual knife from several hundred years ago.

Lockheed designed the modification kit for the C-5 for about $2 billion and it included a bunch of other upgrades like digital avionics, glass displays, and a bunch of reliability enhancements. The TF-39, the first generation of high bypass turbofan engines was not nearly the piece of junk the TF33 is. Plus, cutting in half the number of engines would almost double the mission availability and reliability of the B-52 before it even started reducing the fuel consumption that hog has. Hell, it would be worth doing just to keep them from fogging out that black smoke everywhere it goes.

There’s no hate for the B-52, but look at what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. They flew the wings off the B-1. That’s because it carries more bomb load than the B-52 and with that swing wing it can loiter slowly for a long time then sweep the wings back and get on station in a short time. Nothing against the B-52, but I think the money could be spent better by putting F119s in the B-1. Hell, I’d even re-engine the B-52 before I’d spend a lot of money on Link 16.

Will the last B52 to leave Guam please turn off the Arc-Light.

Big Buff, Those planes have been around & WILL BE around long after we are all pushing daisies!! Long live B-52, the Big Buff!


Where is the upgrade for the B-52 drone?
The far east theater of operations will be shooting these down faster then we can launch them.

I spent a tour on Okinowa in’68–69 putting together M117s for points Noth in Nam. They could carry one hell of a load of Munitions. I’m sure we aren’t seeing or hearing whats really going on as anyone could fake their way to this site and snoop around.

I asked a B-52 test nav about that and he said the going to four engines wasn’t possible because if you lost an engine, the asymetric thrust would be too much to retain control of the airplane. I’m no expert but that’s what he told me.

Tigger is right! Also the B-52 is a incredible platform. It can accommodate the newest weapons systems that are configured to fit B-52 capabilities. In case you do not know, B-52s are flying 24/7 keeping America a world leader for peace.

Way back in the 80’s when the B-2 was first in the public eye, there were some shoulder patches making the rounds showing a view of a B-52 climbing into the sunset. The caption was “When the last B-2 is parked in the Boneyard, the crew dogs with fly home in a BUFF!”. It just might come true! LOL!

Well, it’s still the most formidable option on the planet with its new upgrades coming online in the very near future. I doubt that the Chinese or Russians or any other country, including our allies, would like to witness a wing of these headed their way with our current and soon to be future crop of EA aircraft in attendance…most notably an Aircraft Carrier or two’s worth of the newest EA-18 and FA-18’s escorting them to their targets with carrier-based and/or Air Force AWACS coordinating it all. No country has the capabilities that we have with this ever-so-venerable and completely destructive aircraft. In Asia, this is the one time that the Navy and Air Force can work in full coordination to make a decisive deterrent difference.

I know a lot of you are to young for this but during the Cuban missile crisis, one AF general brought up a point that if they loaded up every B-52 at that time with a 108 bombs they could sink Cuba. I am hoping to still be around when they retire the B-52s so I can say I out lived them, LOL

Major Robert Winn (sometimes in the very late 1960’s) had the misfortune to lose pylon # 3 on starboard side of a B-52 at Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan. This pylon actual blew off the wing; as such, the a/c had no control of # 4 pylon.

Due to his and his crew’s expertise, he managed (after flying around for about 6 hours to burn off fuel), he managed to land the plane back at Wurtsmith; no flaps and with right full rudder. General Bruce K. Holloway (CIC of SAC at the time), flew up from Offutt AFB the next day to award Major Winn the DFC.

When I was crew chief of B52G tail number 58227, she could carry 72 bombs! The 250Lb conventional bombs, were carried 12 under each wing and 48 internally. I was of the opinion that the H model was capable of greater capacity than the B52G tail number 58227 was ??? But hey that was in the sixties when I crewed the G Model, could have forgotten a thing or three since then!!

RQ-3 you mean?

Actually, I was referring to the movie “Dark Star” http://​www​.imdb​.com/​t​i​t​l​e​/​t​t​0​0​6​9​9​4​5​/​?​r​e​f​_​=​f​n​_​a​l_t
Where the hero has to try to talk a sentient bomb, that thinks it’s God, into not going off in the bomb bay (they fail, leading to one of the best movie scenes ever — surfing down from orbit on spacecraft debris).

I suppose the prospect of common engines with at least more than one aircraft in inventory has to have some kind of appeal.

Article states the Buff dating from the 60’s! When I went through pilot rainng in 58 it was already operational. A little research before publishing??

Stealth capability only matters if the folks you’ve got targeted are likely to at least have radar. If an upgraded Buff’ is intended to be used as a deterrent to rebels, oh, lets say on This continent, stealth tech’ probably isn’t needed. Keep your powder dry.

Kooky. I shall try to find it somewhere: netflix, library?

They should have it. It’s a pretty funny movie.

Ahh, the crafty Air Force. Now I see their clever plan. They intend to send the whole damn fleet at once to a target — the enemy radar will be so saturated with return signal that they won’t be able to discriminate a target to shoot at.

I agree, the B52 needs to retire, I worked the B1 for 6 years and why it has some issues it is the workhorse now days, it drops more bombs than any other aircraft and can do it in a hurry, it to has external hard points but due to the start 2 treaty with the soviets its not allowed to use them or nukes…Put the money into the B1’s and B2 instead ..

You don’t know about the B1 very well, it is 1/100th the size of the B52 on radar, it has all the chaff and flares and towed decoy in addition it can fly below radar at 900 MPH and has built in radar jamming…

Hey Boom! Me too.…..99thAREFS, Westover

The B-52 celebrated its 60th birthday in 2012. When I was an aircraft commander, I was the only person on my crew, who was older than the aircraft. The B-52 is a very stable weapons delivery system that still has a lot of service life remaining.

This is all so nice to read these comments on the B-52, B-2, and B-1 — but isn’t our bomber fleet barely over 100 a/c? Stealth is overrated and automation appears to be at the real foreseeable future? While our numbers are dwindling and our potential opponents physical numbers of equipment are growing. Just making do with what we have with continual upgrades — these airframes have limits and I hate to be present at a time of potential conflict to have the ‘mainstay’ of our deterrence be grounded due to unforeseen airframe failures or the inability to have spares due to the age of the planes.

When I arrived at March AFB, CA in 1956, the AF was replacing the 47 with the 52’s. Maj Gen Archie Olds flew one of the three new planes from Castle AFB around the world non-stop and landed at March. Refueling was by the KC-97.

The Air Force needs to reconsider its force structure and the number of officers it has — army aviators are largely warrant officers. Prior to WWII the US had flying sergeants. Do we need generals flying drones? The Air Force is just as bad as the Navy when it comes to adaption. The army/marines still need to put that soldier/marine with a rifle on the ground to own it. So Air Force needs a new bomber to replace the three in inventory — with the few airframes currently. What is the problem with a real replacement.

I got 5000 hrs in the BUFF before retirement.…did Iraq and Afghan.…allot. You need the stealth stuff to kick down the door and let the BUFFs in to finish the job. The current batch still flying are H models from the early 60s. All the 1950’s era G, D, E, Fs ect are long gone. High Level threats are scary for sure but do-able with proper SEAD and DEAD. Was always more comfortable at 300 ft in the middle of the night in the go fast mode. However when it comes to pounding the snot out of ground troops to win a war, it aint stealth or sexy go fast that counts.…its just MASIVE brutal, bloody and consistant that does the job. The BUFF does that well.

As for J weapons, YES we have had the capability to carry on the wing pylons for some time now. We were always frustrated that the AF would not spend a nickel to put the 1760 data buss into the bomb-bay. The H models have TF-33 engines and there is a huge supply of spares available because so many other platforms used the TF33s The CONNECT addition is huge as this will give the comunity Link 16. More then target data, the most important addtion that datalinks provide is real time threat warning and advanced planning. Something that will be a HUGE force multiplier for the BUFF.

Wow 2040, lets see we now have PICcs flying the planes that their great great grandfathers flew.. and now we expect it to be great, great, great gradfathers kids flying.… when they start dropping out of the air how will be responsible… hum. Sure am glad I am no longer active duty..

Been flying since 1863, now that’s a litlte far-fetched but yes counting the earlier models of B-52 they have been around for a long time.
Boomer, I was there in 1972; what a sight seeing them things taking off one after another. I was there PCS and loved it. I left in June ’74, and returned in March 1977. The 2d time was with SAC also.

I left the Air Force as Chief of the Integration Division in the B-52 modernization program. B-52 is indeed a venerable aircraft, and one that I respect. But I must say that some elements of the upgrades described in this article deeply bother me.

Machine-to-machine mission data downloads make sense, up to a point. But via ad hoc networks on software defined radios is a horse of a different color. The JTRS program should have taught us that such architectures can be hideously inefficient on bandwidth, only conditionally stable as an information space and easily jammed. The Army FCS debacle gave us plenty of evidence that “Network-centric” is just another adjective for “very expensive and operationally fragile”. Likewise, the idea that we can ever assume unchallenged control of the air in an era of proliferated heat-seeking SAMS is a mythology, not a strategy.

If B-52 is to continue doing the excellent job of conventional power projection that it has in the past, then stand-off stealthy strike weapons like low-observable cousins of ALCM are simply a requirement for survivability. We cannot assume that requirement away, and the new LRSB will be no less bound by it. We should also acknowledge that stealthy bombers are inherently an order of magnitude more expensive than smaller stealthy standoff weapons. We can no longer afford Billion-dollar airframes, regardless of whether they keep pilots employed.

I wonder if that would even work.

That said, the thought of a B-52 carrying a EW package and a ton of HARM missiles would be hilarious…if they could carry HARM missiles, or if ALCM’s could home onto radars.

B52 does not enter active combat zones in most cases. It carries short/medium ranged weapons from US or Guam or Diego etc thousands of miles to ranges of about 250–600 miles from target then fires them.

Yeah its a bit questionable to put Link-16 theatre cominto aircraft that never are supposed to enter the active warzone. But I guess B-52 need to communicate with the Navy when they get within 300 miles even if Navy sits at edge of live theatre. Middle East has so much poential for theatre expansion during the time a B52 is in the air.

But this will continue as long as programs like B1 fails to meet goals and programs like B2 price themselves out of range of full replacement program. Yup we upgrade whole B52 fleet for half the current cost of a single B2 which otherwise might take on most of its roles.

See there is a reason standoff weapons are nice to have. You don’t need a modern aircraft to haul them around. A 300–600 mile aircushion gives Electronic warfare etc lots of time to stop threat to the launch platform or even to turn and move away.

30 years ago when I was in flight training grandsons were finding their grandfather’s names carved in the wooden navigator tables. Sure the tables are now gone. But its incredible that great great grandchildren fly these today and in the future listing past family flyers of a given B52 may look like the begats section of the Christian Bible.

Doesn’t the peace symbol look like the foot of the An
American chicken. Also known as liberals.

Hey Ponch, County here. Don’t shoot any more boiled eggs outa of the Sextant port…Enjoyed flying with you back in ’01. We definitely snot-clobbered some places & 27 bombs in the bay makes a great statement.
For others here, let me share some thoughts if I may; the Buff is paid for in full, very cheap to operate, takes off “on-time” better than the other bombers (and most other combat planes too), carries more types of weapons than anything else in the sky, the engines are basically bullet proof they’re so strong, and the jet is just really dependable. Not every mission needs stealth, so there is a large envelope the Buff can operate in, even in scary places. High altitude, great electronics and supporting aircraft make a great team.

The g model has j57s and the h model has fan jets as do our commercial jet

Standoff weapons — cruise missiles. B52 has few reasons to get within 300–600 miles of targets in areas with active air defense. B52 really only get close dropping old stocks of dumb bombs in controlled airspace from altitude. Such carpet bombing is usually done to set off mines and kill totally bunkered troops (ie. they do not have air to ground capacity beyond shoulder rockets and they are unlikely to risk using those since you have to open a bunker door to look out.)

Actually the B-52 can standoff even further should the theatre contain modern threats. But 1200 miles tends to lower warhead weight and increase munitions costs significantly. UNder 200–600 miles on the other hand make little difference until you start gravity bombing.

Incidentally the B52 still flies higher than most fighters cruise. So its above altitude specs of quite a few of the more common missile systems. Unless you are first world country, most fighters have maintenance issues and frequent life support leaks that keep their operations to 10K meters or less despite design specs. Therefore most affordable missile defense doesn’t reach much higher.

Your “CAPS LOCK” is on. You have no respect for others.

The b-52 was the MAN, when I joined in 1968, its time to retire it. Build more B2s, and give them supersonic capabilities. In the long run it will be where the 52 is today, and the money spent will be an investment the same as what was spent on the 52s.

I’d like to see them build some new ones, assuming Boeing can find the tooling.

G + H carried same internal Mark 82(500 pounders) load. D models had the big belly mod & could carry 84 SnakeEyes internally. All 3 models could carry 24 externally, 12 per pylon.

The 43 hours it took for the around-the-world flight by 3 B-52H models in March, 1980, from K. I. Sawyer AFB, MI, was about the endurance limits of the airplane not because of the crew or fuel, but the engine lubricating fluids. I guess they could switch to Mobil1 but then they would need more food & water for the crew. I would like to see them restart the production line on the aircraft that has served us so well & so long, probably America’s best investment ever!

Thanks media for letting every adversary know what DOD is doing! How long before they all have counter-measures to nullify all the upgrades or copies in their own planes? Great job! This is a major problem with an open society. There are some things the public do not need specifics on.

No, your analysis is the wrong decision. These planes are already bought and paid for several generations of taxpayers ago. This bomber is continues to be an excellent platform for different missions including bombing, maritime protection and deterrence, and reconnaissance. You give no other reasons other than ‘to retire” a perfectly good old warhorse that still keeps giving to its country. That is a dimwitted and shortsighted viewpoint.

Best crowd control device every built.

Won’t happen soon, but I expect that as CVNs eventually become more vulnerable to stealthier and faster air and missile threats, and the air and missile defense problem will be solved with a new class of large CGN with powerful large aperture radar (larger than can be supported by a destroyer), a large load of missiles, directed energy weapons (lasers, etc.), and significantly improved electronic warfare capabilty, for providing air and missile defense of the CVN and CSG, and for performing the flagship C2 mission.

USN has not yet included anything like it in their shipbuilding plans, and there is far too little political support for providing budget for anything like that now, so for now we will see the half-baked solution of a medium size AMDR installed on A-B flight III platform.

Keep the B-52s and build 100 B-1Rs.

NRL is currently working on a process that synthesizes fuel oil from sea water, which holds promise of reducing the logistics tail supporting the CSG. If developed, it will require a shipboard nuclear-electric power plant, and so might be incorporated in a future class of large CGN, which would enable a CGN flagship to supplement fuel oil sources for its gas turbine powered surface group.

Much points toward a new large class of CGN for air and missile defense in the CSGs, one CGN paired to each CVN.

Get your facts straight. The current B-1 is supersonic already.

Amen :)

I worked with the radar jamming equipment on the B-52. None of the derogatory remarks about this this very capable aircraft seemed to know about the radar defense, Several comments showed the immature ignorance of the writer. This fine aircraft has an outstanding record and can easily fill the suggested gap, which makes the upgrades most worthwhile. Get past and present facts, evaluate and maybe some of you will be able to make an intelligent statement about the total situation. Retired MSgt

Those planes are so old, metal fatigue should be a concern.

Article states at the beginning — “While most of the current inventory of B-52 bombers, a workhorse aircraft with a distinguished history were initially fielded in the 1960’s,” This is FALSE — B-52s were already fielded in the late 50 s — I flew Chrome Dome and others as an EWO ‚we were ready then. anyone here that remembers me? AL KANAUKA.

It is OK as long as they paint them a pretty color. Can’t stand that horrid green and brown. Just saying.…

We have weapons you would not believe.
How about the stealth bomber.
They were in use for 20 years before they were introduced to the
general public.

Let’s check the military record of bozobama…

To the above commenter(s): How about we let the service chiefs analyze the requirements for their areas of responsibility and then come up with the most cost and operationally effective means of achieving those goals?

I for one know my knowledge of the trade-offs as to whether upgrading an existing platform is a better choice than seeking new airframes or systems is diminished by the 23 years since I retired. The B-52 was old then and is older now. But the same (and more) can be said of the TU-95 and its B-29 clone engineering.

d. Kellogg, here’s the entire quote: Two distinct, yet interwoven B-52 modernization efforts will increase the electronics, communications technology, computing and avionics available in the cockpit while simultaneously configuring the aircraft with the ability to carry up to eight of the newest “J-Series” precision-guided weapons internally – in addition to carrying six weapons on each wing, said Eric Single, Chief of the Global Strike Division, Acquisition. Public Affairs would release BOTH LEVELS OF THAT INFORMATION so that both expert-level and common level readers would be informed. I have been Public Affairs for the government for six years and have worked throughout the entire country and abroad. What is your level of Public Affairs?

The record of the Service Chiefs in “analyzing the requirements for their areas of responsibility and then (coming) up with the most cost and operationally effective means of achieving these goals” is simply abysmal! None of the Services have done better than wasting at least a third of their acquisition budgets for the past 20 years on systems that never reached production. With over 40% down the ra thole, the Army is the worst offender (see the Army Acquisition Study), but all of our Service acquisition executives and staffs have contributed to the debacle.

Possibly the largest single problem we have in military systems acquisition is that we allow military “leaders” to specify requirements that are unconstrained by technical and cost reality. Army FCS and GCV are among the more egregious examples, though the USAF Joint Strike Fighter and Navy’s Litoral Combat Ships seem to be worthy competition in the race to folly. The required “Analysis of Alternatives“
process is a joke, when the alternatives comprise differing ways of meeting requirements which are little more than dream sheets unsupported by demonstrated technology.

When will we ever face reality and learn: if the requirement isn’t right (and reachable), then the acquisition never will be. We need to put put every ACAT I requirement through a murder board staffed by retired senior technologists, before such large programs are ever allowed to go to a Milestone A. Perhaps only then will military delusional fantasies be recognized for what they are, before programs can develop the inertia and the Congressional advocates which keep them going long after their failures are recognized.

Another waste!
These machines are flying death boxes. Every country has the news SAM systems that are copies of ours. They can shoot down anything that flies from bugs, birds and planes, even rockets and misslies

Who are we going to use these warplanes against? Our military is stationed around the world. Seems any neutral observer could conclude the U.S.A. is arming itself way beyond what is necessary.Who profits from all this saber rattling?B-52,s were intended for Gen. Lemays style of war. I,m growing weary of the supposed threats we americans are endlessly told of. Now we need new F-35,s costing $235,000,000.00 per plane! Lets get real here,we americans are being duped and taxed to pay for the elites mansions toys, and nannys.

I doubt that with all the drones crashing.

@ AL KANAUKA: You get an “F” for reading comprehension! “While most of the CURRENT inventory.….were initially fielded in the 1960’s” Words matter, in this case they’re refering to the aircraft CURRENTLY in service. You might have a point with “most”, since I believe ALL of the current “H” models were manufactured in the early sixties (1961–62 to be precise). First B-52 flight (XB-52) was in 1952, coincidentally enough, as some of you already know. Is NASA still flying their B-52B? I can’t remember. As far as I remember, it was the last non H-model in service.

I think y’all underestimate what can be done with electronic warfare. The Buff is large enough to install everything it needs to neutralize most any threat. Go Buffs, Go F-4 Veterans, Go Air Force!

Was that comment made by Mr. Snowden ?

Lots of uneducated snippy comments. Many of you here think you know. Unless you’ve been in the AF for the last 30 years or so…you don’t. If nothing’s done, then we fall even further behind. We’re stuck behind the corporate/political machine that controls what we can afford. Greed, personnel turnover to save money, and poor quality has taken over manufacturing, which leads to hyper-inflated costs of new systems. Beat the honor back into pride of manufacturing for the US military…and it might change. Not the military’s fault…we’re just puppet services. Stick to your ignorance and front porches and let us keep defending your rights.

Mustang, I served 21 years active duty and a similar period in defense aerospace. My doctorate sponsored by AFIT is in engineering systems and much of my career was advanced technology assessment and integration, including integration on the B-52 airframe. From that background, I can tell you with credible authority that unrealistic and inflated military “requirements” are responsible more than any other factor for the inflated costs of military acquisition. You’re shooting at the wrong targets. We have met the enemy… and he is US!

Much nonsense is spoken about the “greed” of those awful contractors who rip us off with cost-plus-fee contracts. But such contracting methods wouldn’t be nearly as necessary if the military restrained its requirements to employ proven technology, with lower risks. High technology and complexity are NOT our friends. Before you blather on about the corporate political machine, go read the Army Acquisition Study, with its documented evidence of the waste caused by inflated requirements and inexperienced, ill-trained or careerist “acquisition officials” both in and out of uniform. I’ve been there and seen that.

They were referring to the current model, The B-52H, which the last one rolled of the line in 1962

“proven technology, with lower risks. High technology and complexity are NOT our friends.”

We’ve long forgotten that we got through the Cold War with robust prototyping and research by NASA et al, along with relatively rapid upgrade or rapid turnover of aircraft types. That said, every generation we push new electronics that aren’t exactly incremental upgrades over their predecessors, thus reinventing the wheel between F-22 and JSF; even though both were designed by the same firm.

Even then, I suspect Green Hills has a monopoly on all aircraft computers, which in turn pegs any hardware development to their whims.

You think they’ll be using the B52 in Detroit?

Unless you’re a Marine, don’t call us squids. Only Marines get that privilege. As for the rest of your comment, I think one person here advocated for CVBG “only” scenario. The rest of us are smart enough to know that having a flexible force across a broad spectrum, is the correct approach.

The Buff has a radar return of…ready for it? ZERO. If I told you how, I’d have to shoot you. Sorry, I’ve already said too much. Forgrt this note please.

Did they ever put a working anti-ice system on the B1? If they didn’t then your “workhorse” will always be a very limited work horse. Whereas the B-52 has proven over and over the real definition of a work horse. I have been at 50k feet and 100 feet and everywhere in between in a Buff. The mission capability of the Buff is unparalleled in the AF Inventory the only other aircraft I can think of that might come close is the F-4 Phantom. 1952 to 2040 tell me any other investment our government ever made that has had that kind of return on investment.

I hope that they keep at least one Buff flying till 2052. Give the old girls their century if there are plans to fly them till 2040 anyway.

The B-52’s are an enviromental disaster without upgrading the engines, as the leak huge amounts of fuel while parked let alone what is lost during flight. While attending the airshow at MCAS Yuma with this aircraft on display I noticed they cordoned off a considerable amount of the area below the engines to keep attendents from walking through, and getting fuel on them if the walked under them. As far as the cost goes for the revamp it is minimal compared to what what was spent (6.5 billion) just to bring the F-35’s to MCAS Yuma for training, housing, and storage facilities. All this money spent and they are rarely seen in the air. I see the B-52’s more often, so really which is a bigger waste of defense $$?

“One analyst said the upgraded B-52s could provide essential precision-bombing capabilities over areas where the U.S. has already established air superiority or where there is little or no defenses against high-altitude bombers.”

And where would that be? Madagascar? Papua? The Vatican? Or maybe back to Laos, where I watched them from a Navy jet 44 years ago.Why don’t we just contract with the airlines to drop stuff or put bomb racks on a FedEx 767? As long as it’s not in harm’s way get the low bidder to drop JDAMs using their own in flight scheduling software already developed.

This is nuts. The blue suit fossils that that promote this and spend our money on this kind of lunacy to preserve their dynasty should be cashiered. Make them lookouts on the Pyramids.

Good enough for Grandpa so good enough for me. I wonder if “Balls 28″ is still in the inventory. Funny post.

DH, Maj USAF, 81–90, 28 BMW(H) 81–84

Tail number? If it’s an –H, good chance it’s still somewhere, either in the Boneyard or flying. If a –G, it probably got cut up.

28th Bomb Wing is B-1B’s now.

Analysts are stuck in COIN mode. The future is kicking in doors in sad countries…neo-colonial intervention, the New Great Game?

Tech=sexy, expensive

Engines=unsexy, middling.

The electronics on board may be state of the art, but I, for one, have a LOT of difficulty entrusting the defense of our nation to a 50+ year old airplane. With age, metal fatigue sets in. And what was “fast” for 1960 is a flapping dinosaur today. We NEED a new, modern, high-speed bomber, and we need them in LARGE NUMBERS to stand up to the growing Chinese threat. And now, the Russians are modernizing their fleet, while we’re plodding around the sky in a plane that my Grandfather used to fly when he was a young man? That does NOT comfort me.

Yes, it’s funny how quickly we forget about the Air Force research labs that designed the airplanes that broke the sound barrier and went on to go to the edge of space. Now the military is so controlled by their contractors that even the military believes that their own procurement people are responsible for what’s wrong with the military. Certainly the problems with our procurement system have nothing to do with the fact that the DoD pays them more to screw up than they do if they come in with a good weapon on time and on budget! No, there’s no self interest at work here. There’s only a massive conspiracy by government procurement officials to “gold plate” requirements. That’s what passes for “common sense” today.

This old bird is a inventory dinosaur and a non stealth expensive target, is it still worth the loot to update the systems and engines for more defense and payload? These warhawks were whacking the Ho Chi Min trail when in was in Nam in 1965 and leaving olympic pool size craters in and around Tan So Nhut…

Glad the DOD is pumping money in a proven workhorse. While it may not penetrate a moderate to high threat environment, wars are fought in phases. The Buff can fight the initial phase with standoff weapons such as the CALCM, JASSM, and MALD. Once the threat environment is defeated through air supremacy, the Buff can take on the role of dump truck with JDAM, WCMD, and dumb bombs. The Buff’s multirole capability should keep it around til 2040. What they also need is new engines. The TF-33s are costing too much in maintenance costs. Replacing them with 767 engines would increase reliability and increase the unrefueled range to 13,000 miles thus freeing up tanker support for the little pointy aircraft. Long live the Buff.

No, you didn’t get it right. What exactly did the Navy do in the 21st century wars?

Gee with all these new aircraft the Air Force is coming out with every year, it’s hard to believe they have a pilot shortage (http://​www​.latimes​.com/​b​u​s​i​n​e​s​s​/​l​a​-​f​i​-​f​i​g​h​t​e​r​-​p​i​l​o​t​-​w​a​n​t​e​d​-​2​0​1​3​0​7​2​2​,​0​,​2​1​5​2​4​6​8​.​s​t​ory). Of course, it is hard to find pilots who will take the blame for a crash when the airplane cut off their air supply like the F-22 did to the pilot who crashed in Alaska. Clearly t takes a special breed…


Too bad we aren’t building weapons with a shelf life anymore. The B-52 has managed to prove its worth over and over again for the past 50 years.

These obituaries remind me of the Dewey Wins! headline…just plain wrong on so many levels. I suspect that we may never see a military aircraft that outlives its development time-frame again.

Too, too, wrong on the B-52. Re: the F-35, not sure yet but I suspect it will prove to be too expensive for the assigned missions and we will end up with perhaps 100 when all is said and done. The drone vs. manned argument will take +10 years to shake things out.

Boomer, I was stationed at Andersen AFB in 1975-March 76. Those OLD D-Models were something to work on as a “Tin Bender or Rivet Head”. 43rd FMS.

Would love to have the contract to install all the mods.

It’s the Carrier forces that serve as a first defense to prevent the enemy from getting to the land bases. Defense Policy has always been to project force into a troubled area versus waiting for it to show up on the coast.


The carrierphiles might object and note that carrier-based aircraft can attack objectives independently, not just defend land bases. They are independent arms of military strategy. Bases like Diego are protected by sheer range from aerial attack, and probably do not require defense against short-range navies against attack. Diego is ~2600 miles from Bandar Abbas, less than the 1200 mile range of the Shahab-3. The alleged –5 and –6 would have the range, though.

Carriers can’t strike from those kinds of ranges, but that’s okay. So long as you have the Indian Ocean to play in and no satellite reconnaissance dedicated to real-time tracking of carrier movements…

Carefully crafted and articulate analysis devoid of facts and full of assertion and opinion. Another example of how our school system prepares its victims for the real world. If one follows torquewrench’s line of reasoning we should also “retire” the MA-2 .50 cal. machine gun and all conventional bombs merely because they were designed a long time ago.

I can remember when, at Castle AFB, (73–74) I spent many a long day hammering rivets into the old D-model B-52’s. Same story at Andersen AFB (Jan 75-March 76). Not a lot of high tech glamour, but I’d do it again.

Where is the money to do what you want?

Where you ever in the USAF? I doubt it, only an ill informed, even stupid person would call the USAF the “air farce.” The same people that brought you the U.S Air Force also brought air warfare to its current capabilities.
Just the 8th AF alone in Europe in WWII had higher casualties than the entire US Marine Corps. Your weak attempt at humor insults the memories of thousands of brave men from WWII through today. You should be ashamed of yourself and be considered a coward. BTY — it is “too.” Highly educated too, what a guy.

That’s the only kind of place we go fight anyway so what’s the diff?

I was in S.A.C. for ten years and not a day went by that I wasn’t under them when they were flying over my house or on the flight line right next to them.
These aircraft are a marvel and have been the backbone of the Air Force for years. As the middle east operations have shown they can and will carry the fight to the enemy. We will utilize this bomber as long
as possible and it is indeed logical to do so. Like the carrier it has proven time and time again that a weapons
platform cannot be judged by its age but by its effectiveness. It has its purpose.….…. and our leadership
has not only accepted this but continue to embrace it. One can almost pity the enemy troops it has targeted,
its reputation as the silent killer is well founded.
This nation cannot foresee the scenario in which it might be used.
But if that situation comes to bare we have the trained crews and tankers and almighty Buff to take it on.

Superraptor: I agree completely and have been saying this for years. We need to build and deploy around 2 to 300 MX ICBMs, in addition to what missiles we still have left.

No. The best investment would be the C-130.

I think you need better information about this aircraft to fully understand the stupidity of your comment. For reference From Chicago to New York is just over 600 nautical miles. New York to Philadelphia is about 70 miles. The 20 AGM-86C/D cruise missiles carried by the B-52 have a range of 1,500 miles. The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon has a range of 70 miles and the AGM-158 JASSM is 230 miles. Even the AGM-84 Harpoon anti ship missile range is 70 miles.

My point is you don’t have to be close to hit your target not to mention that the B52 can operate at 50,000 feet. The Stinger missile range is 3 miles. The Patriot missile range is 43 miles is the only missile that could get to it.

Lets just say it can still do its job better and cheaper than other bombers we have now.

More weapons of mass destruction to kill people in the weaker nations of the world. What are your teeth for grandma? to eat you better, said the wolf.

As a former cold war warrior you people are forgetting the past contributions of a dependable workhorse that still has a place in environments that are not bristling with SAM’s or other threats. IF you’ll recall we didn’t lose any B-52’s until December of 1972 when we ignored all past proven tactics & flew over North Vietnam that was armed with SAM 4’s & tons of SAM 3’s. Our low level approaches to targets were ignored at our peril by some idiots who seemed to think Vietnam was WW2 Germany. This idiotic oversight cost us dearly as our entire nuclear strategy was comprised along with our newest countermeasures equipment that was used as part of our nuclear battle plans. The B-52 has the radar signature of a 170′ diameter water tank , the B1 the signature of an aluminum tennis ball.……technology is great but once compromised it’s part of everyones arsenal.

Great comment and you are RIGHT ON!!! Thanks!

Why have we never upgraded the engines on the BUFF? They are still using 1960’s engines that guzzle fuel and have high mx costs.

Couldn’t we load some water bombs on the B52, to fight fires, as soon to be bankrupt Calif could use some help!!!!!!

Yes. It’s still worth the loot. And you can’t think of at time since Vietnam when one of these old birds was shot down by enemy fire. They don’t need to be stealthy. That’s what support missions are for.

You don’t know what you’re talking about. The B-52 has many good years left.

Well, you thought wrong, Big-Dummy. What the helllll is “The Age of Stealth”? Is that a movie or something?

You don’t know what you’re talking about torquewrench.

Good, sturdy old airplanes. Use them as they are to fly Pelosi and friends around. Save billions.

More PORK for the M/I Complex.

This airplane was not in Vietnam. The E and F were deployed to Guam (1966) and later on we took them to Utapao RTNB in Thailand,(1967) later to be replaced by the D model(1967) which was retired totally in 1982. The G model and D model were deployed to Anderson AFB, Guam. The D was also deployed for a short time to Kadena AB, Okinawa.(1968–1970) The H model never saw Nam.

The 707 is as old as the BUFF. The BUFFs, along with the AWACS, should have gotten new engines long ago. France, Brit and NATO AWACS have, so the engineering is done. There have been several proposals over the years to re-engine the H model BUFFs, but the funds could never be found.

As a flying platform.…why reinvent the flipping wheel? Unless you have some vast improvement over Bernuli’s Principle..unless you have a cheaper alternative..a wing is a wing…if the structure is still good..then HECK the UNexpected and BE SMART..upgrading the electronics is a fine alternative to having no long range strike bomber, unless you want to Obama that out to the Ruskie’s too…like we are with our NASA flights… Trust me on that…“Ivan don’t like us…don’t trust him to drive our bombs to light-up his skies…even IVAN ain’t THAT dumb..he KNOWS Obama is full of shite”. Keep up the good work Zoomies.

I was there too and remember the new SRAM system; the White Sands flights and the long system checkouts prior to going up on alert or during an exercise — usually in the cold. It was state of the art at the time and replaced the AGM 28 (I think) Hound Dog missile system. There were never carried under the wings operationally — too much drag. I remember when a wing pylon was being downloaded when the hydraulics on the trailer failed and it jammed under the wing of the aircraft. Ahhh — the good old days.

I was the Maintenance Supervisor toe the 42 MMS — a long time ago.

But they can fly high above most defenses, so who cares if you can see them or not?

Nobody in the world can match this airplane. Yes, we get air supremacy and then send them in. There is nothing whatsoever amiss in this strategy.
You’d bytch if the things were retired and we had to shell out big bux to replace them with a system not half as effective or viable.

The most awesome thing that I ever saw or heard was back in the mid-60’s when they scrambled the B52 wing at Eglin AFB. One time I was riding around the curve near the blast deflecter when a B52 grabbed air right above my head and I stopped pedaling hopped off and watched. Then every 10 seconds or so another one would take off until the whole wing was airborne. Would love to see and hear that again. It was an inspiring sight.

Linebacker II was a hoax? B52s were NOT utilized in this offensive? Somebody got a lot a essplanin’ to do!

we did upgrade 200 a10’s

Uh huh.
That’s what they said about the .45.
The Marines recently ordered thousands of them.

You are dead wrong. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

Historically, US bombers have often had to, and in the future, they will often have to, penetrate deep into enemy territory and airspace (that’s their mission, after all). Vide the bombing of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq again, and Libya.

One of the ways in which China, Iran, Russia, and other potential adversaries are protecting their assets from harm is by locating them DEEPLY inside their territories. And these are VERY large countries — Russia is the largest, and China the third largest, country in the world by territory. China’s main missile fields are at Delingha, deeply inside China, over 2,100 kms away from its shores.

ALL of the US military’s current cruise missiles fall way short in terms of range to be able to hit targets so deeply inside China. Just to stay outside Chinese airspace, a bomber would have to be over 2,100 kms away from Delingha. But to stay outside the range of Chinese interceptors, it’d have to be another 1,000 kms away. No air-launched cruise missile in the world except the Chinese HN-3 has such range.

In any case, even if range were not a problem, cruise missiles would be totally useless for attacking such targets (except a few soft ones), because cruise missiles are a) totally incapable of destroying hardened targets, of which there are many; b) incapable (excepting the Tomahawk) of attacking fleeting targets (but even the Tomahawk can’t really do that, bc it’s subsonic); c) highly vulnerable to the same air defense systems that threaten aircraft; and d) too expensive for any large-scale operations (one cruise missile is one thing, but 100 cruise missiles is quite another).

As for the B-52’s ceiling — don’t make me laugh. Even first-generation Soviet SAMs like the SA-2 were fully adequate to shoot down B-52s in Vietnam, over 4 decades ago. In fact, a couple dozen B-52s DID get shot down by SAMs in Vietnam. But it gets even worse for the crappy old B-52 (and for you): flying at low altitudes won’t save you, either, because the enemy will (and the NVA did, closely following the Soviet doctrine of using multiple overlapping air defense systems) then use AAA to shoot the B-52 at low altitude. This presented B-52 (and other aircraft) crews with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” problem: whenever they flew at low altitudes, they got hit by AAA, but when they flew at high altitudes, they got shot down by SAMs. And bombers are too sluggish to duck SAMs.

But it actually gets EVEN WORSE for you and for the obsolete B-52, because modern Russian and Chinese SAMs can reach targets at much HIGHER altitudes than 1960s-era Soviet SAMs.

So it is YOU who posts stupid comments here, not me.

Face it. The B-52 is HOPELESSLY OBSOLETE. Time to start retiring and scrapping it. NOW.

The B-1’s radar signature is essentially the same as that of an F-16 (by B-1 pilots’ own admission). That is STILL big enough for modern radars to detect them quite easily. And if they detect you, no amount of chaff, flares, and towed decoys can help you. And to be able to jam any radar, you must be close enough to do so — but with its huge radar sig, the B-1 (like the B-52, the EA-6, the EA-18, the Bug, the Super Bug, the F-15, the F-16, and the Harrier) would never get even CLOSE to a position from which it could jam anything.

Perhaps a new interest in local Monroe Doctrine strategic planning. Stop these endless Asian land wars. Over water to Central America and coastal South America. Across the Gulf of Mexico here we come. Come on you guys don’t you see it. The gaze of Washington turns South to the jungles of our sweet neighbors who have been up to all kinds of nonsense. A refitting for fast real time scenarios, paint is turning green again. Add a dash of coastal Eastern Asia. Say in the operational areas near Japan on down South to Indonesia.

The B-52’s have been undergoing revisions since they were first introduced.
It is nothing new.
First was the A model and now we are past the J model. Completely different plane.
Please do not treat us like we are stupid. Tell us which models are involved.

Actually, the B-1 has a MUCH smaller radar signature than the B-52. Not a small as the B-2 but certainly pretty hard to pick up on radar. Plus the Bone is hugely fast, and that increases its survivability a lot…in fact, it has basically taken over the role formerly assigned to the F-111. “Non-stealthy aircraft are NOT “completely useless, irrelevant, and impotent,” as you blithely proclaim. Against a highly sophisticated enemy like China or Russia, you would need stealthy platforms for most if not all missions…but against the North Koreas and Irans of the world, you do NOT have to have stealth platforms for ALL missions. I’m a AF Historian with 26 years of active duty and reserve experience, and you aren’t right on this one.

The B-52 program should have been killed off years ago. It’s purely congressional pork with massive infusions of campaign contributions from defense contractors.

Build more B1s instead.

We don’t have production lines for any bombers left.

Rockwell is long dead, and not sure if B-2 production materiel is still extant. Just because Northrop Grumman is around doesn’t mean it won’t be cost effective.

After reading all the comments I come to the conclusion that supersonic stealth drones are needed for the future

Correct. Did the Taliban or Iraq ever even dream of shooting one down? Somalia? We have a lot of ordnance that can destroy the enemy if needed dropped by the B52 right on top of their staging areas.
In an emergency, these dogs will hunt.

I’m guessing the reporter for this article just didn’t fully understand what the AF was telling him about the improved capabilities of the B-52

All we need are a bunch of new build B-52s with upgraded modern engines. Suggestions to upgrade current 8 jet engines to 4 jets with more power and better fuel efficiency have been set aside in the past as too expensive. Seems to me that this would be less expensive than an all new bomber. These planes do everything that you want a strategic bomber to do. Wouldn’t it be far less expensive to make new build B-52s than create a whole new bomber from scratch? The Russians believe it-many of their ancient prop driven Bear bombers are actually fairly new builds. Plus, the original contractor for the B-52 is still very much in business (Boeing). Stop trying to reinvent the wheel just so you can spend more money.

For a nuclear triade the bombers arrive 8 hours after the 1/2 hour ICBMs go off…so EMP has removed most radars that are tactical and not EMP hardened…

There’s a picture floating around of a B52 with #2 pylon (why can’t they spell that word) replaced by a single 747 engine. Seems to work and way more efficient.

Go Big Buff! To bad we didn’t have these upgrades year earlier. We could have carpet bombed those rag heads and the Afghan war would have been over years ago.

Actually “Taxpayer”: Get rid of the other “B” programs and restart building the most successful bomber of all time, the B-52. Talk about more bang for the buck! Budget cuts? Get rid of Obama care and Obama phone, and a thousand other liberal pet projects that have been implemented to get votes and divide the American people along lines of race and ethnicity. I’m an Army guy (was) — but I think the Air Force does a great job.

Not to burst anyones bubble here but this journalist is talkin like a damn fool. I used to fly jx-49’s in the cold war of 2003. We used to refuel these pieces of crap B-52’s during our missions to the space staition. Half of the fleet were destroyed that year due either to pilot error or the on-board bathroom septic tanks exploding from the expantion of the frozen and mostly human feces left after the crew of the B-52 had witness the amazing abilities of my gx-49 “Aerosaw” split the rearend of the Good Year blimp like a hatchet through a melon.

Yes, they will fly on auto, and go into a holding pattern, and then the locals will land the plane remotely in the big cities but in the small outskirts it will be done by satellite, just for the sake of having hands on not that they could land the plane in auto all the way…

There are stories of B-17s landing with just one engine operating (towards the very end of the flight). Sure it’s asymetric, but 4 engine jets fly with 3 quite frequently. Obviously, it’s not recommended, but there are still enough engines operating to get the plane to the ground safely.

I fully agree. The BUFF is a sturdy old craft that will go on for a long long time
from a former BUFF crew chief during the Nam conflict. 62 days 60 on time missions!

The U.S. Mil/Ind Complex keeps on keeping-on. Upgrading a non-stealth sub-sonic bomber to what purpose? Continuous bombing in Afghanistan until there’s nothing left but dust? Where/who are our enemies to continue to waste badly needed funds needed elsewhere.….??

Turn them into drones.…what could possibly go wrong?

methinks thou dost stutter a tad there

We should test fire them on Washington,no one would see that coming!We would see a larger budget for the Air Force .

Hey Gilbert…I was stationed at NAS Agana & went to see your BUFF’s at an airshow during the time you were at Andersen. Was amazed, the BUFF’s were leaking oil like an old car with oil pans under that mighty aircraft, huh? Oil pans???

We are capabale to make flying saucers and you come ith this piece of crap? Henry Coand have a patent how to build one and that was long time ago!. Personaly I met him in early 70’s also when my station was in Feucht W.Gremany back in 1984 I met Hermann Oberth The Father of all your progams related to space. Your Goddard was nothing, just a playng what chinese did thousands of years ago. Playing with firecrackers. Henry Coanda and Herman Oberth was working at the Glocke and translated in english is, The Bell. It make sens? When I called my commander about Oberth details he said to put everithing on the papers but he was to drunk that night and the next day he did not remmember a damn shit. His name was Mike Oberman and later I found that his uncle was working at San Diego GD Plant working for the Tomahawk Missiles.

Did I really read:

One analyst said the upgraded B-52s could provide essential precision-bombing capabilities over areas where the U.S. has already established air superiority or where there is little or no defenses against high-altitude bombers.

No defense!!! Who is kidding who.
They were designed or a different age, long gone…

If you’re older than the B-52 raise your hand!

The Saudis paid to have the CFM-56 engines integrated onto the AWACS platform in 1983. All subsequent 707 airframes, including the UK & French AWACS and the Navy E-6, were delivered with the CFM engines. The NATO nations have been asking for new engines for 20 years due to noise. So far they haven’t been able to afford the cost. All US and NATO AWACS planes still fly with the original TF-33 derived engines.

When you OWN the Air you can put one of these anywhere you want, plus it’s paid for Mostly =)

Nice to see the BUFF will be around long into the future!

This writer appears not to know much about the B-52.

The Navy has been behind not retiring the B-52s. They don’t have to pay to maintain the planes, and one of the best mining aircraft is available with crews when and if they ever need it!

Getting back to the article, everything it says about the radar, ground ability, weather watch, ability to track a tanker and the all weather bombing ability is pretty much the same as when it was build. The Offensive Avionics System (OAS) upgrade in the 80s greatly improved the navigation, but slightly degraded the radars ability for weather.

Were there any studies done to convert the B-52 to four modern hi-bypass turbo-fans? If we are “tilting toward the Pacific” the Buff has the range to cover the expanses of the Pacific, Indian and Great Southern Ocean. No P-3 or P-8 is capable. Hell that’s why TU-95s leave Murmansk , cruise down our East coast with 8 Nuke cruise missiles and cruise on over to Santiago, Chile. Going to a 4 engine mode would extend this and simplify fuel management and other system(in theory, maybe not in practice).

As far as bombers are concerned, The B52 my favorite. It reminds me of a time when the U S Actually acted like a country.

“Actually acted like a country”

You mean…collect taxes, belatedly push a half-baked version of civil rights without really breaking the ceiling for women and minorities and had ambitions to go to the Moon and Mars while acting as the world’s factory without regressing socially?

Re the past:
We still impose defacto war as we will (poor Pakistan!). Deposed and reimposed leaders as we liked, then shrugged when the death squads came out, then rolled our eyes when people tried to pin it on us. What an America!

The irresponsible plan is to replace them with the new LRB-XYZ, or whatever they’re calling it, in the 2020’s. They tried with the B1: FAIL. THey added the B2: narrowly successful, but a financial FAIL. The next bomber will be frighteningly expensive, while doing more or less what B52s do currently.

Here’s a thought: BUILD MORE B52s. Far cheaper airframe, which can be modified at the outset instead of the current cut ‘n paste upgrades.
But then, where’s the political leverage in parceling out new B52 contracts, instead of multibillion dollar boondoggles for unproven weaponry?
Taxpayer, you are half right. But your ire should be directed toward the replacement, not the HIGHLY proven and effective current model.

Has anyone here read “Flight of The Old Dog”.…this Military Fiction Book was a prophecy which has come to fruitition.

You are quite correct…but who’s to say that they will all have the same E-Configurations. Don’t forget, that if you send a fleet of B-52’s.…some may be configured for Electronic Countermeasures and could be equipped with anti missile armaments (missiles/mini guns) and could assume the role of protecting other aircraft in the formation. Many of the new naval craft are equipped with modular electronic and armament modules…no reason the B-52’s cant be retrofitted with a similay layout.

Brother, you are 100% on target. I’ve heard many ground pounders bless the A-10 as a savior! One of the finest support aircraft ever devised and fielded!!!!

Did the American citizens and TAX payers ask for this?
This country is done.
There is no Constitution… the few, corralling the whole country to slaughter.

Lets just get it all over with and take control of earth orbit space, arm the space station, you can hit everything from there using heat shielded whatever you have-doesn’t even need to nuclear, lasso a meteorite-put a guidance system on it and kick to earth. Instant blammo wherever you want and no stopping it.

Only problem is you have to stop anyone else from doing a space launch so you control the high country.
Too bad Clinton gave the chicoms our guidance technology in the 90’s, used to be we only worried about the USSR.

I do, and it cuts just as well as a new one. Higher quality craftsmanship, too.

I notice that once again USAF has declined to upgrade the ENGINES. I thought there was a program to replace the 8 antiques with 4 modern commercial EFFICIENT engines 10 years ago. But I agree with the many comments on what possible MISSION a B-52 can fly. I think we can bomb Somalia into submission with a pair of F-16s. For most everybody else, we can just cancel their charge cards.

I spent 8 years on Guam, 5 years of that with the AF. Loved the old bird and that was back in 1980 — 1985. It is a true work horse, built to last. Used to spend a lot of time at the beach and the base golf course, may go back some day just to look around one more time.

Just so the know. The BUFF is a satellite weapons platform that can loiter in a given area from long duratiation of time. Giving boots on the ground access to a LOT of fire power. At present, often enemy’s on the battle field
are not even aware of there presence. until its to late. There like amazon​.com on time deliver Guaranteed.

I would like to meet you. I was in SAC, in A&E, then changed to AMS from 1955 till 1976. I was at Castle AFB, Merced CA, during the start up of the B-52’s. We had all of the models from the B to the F I was later on the G,s at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. I then cycled to the B-58 at Little Rock AFB and finally to the FB-111 at Carswell AFB Tx and Pease AFB. NH. A lot of long nights maintaining those Avionics. I also had short stints on the B-36 and B-47, but they were being phased out. About the time I came abord. I have about 2,000 hours flight time in the B-52 (all models). I was trained on the Bomb –Nav, Electronic-Warfare (ECM), Radio and Automatic Flight Control. In the 50’s and 60’s we had to fly after every repeat write up. I retired as an E9, my final year as Division Sargeant Major. The Division Commander was Maj. General George Mc Kee. I flew with him when he was a Lt. Ccl. He was my Rabi (smile). I live in Littleton CO. Would like to hear back from you.

I don’t know of any B-52 bombing in Nam in 1965. I was involved in the B-52 operations which started in the early part of 1969, from Okinawa. May have happened, no one was privy to all operations. I do know the first B-52 bombing there was the D model B-52, after under going the (big belly) modification which started in 1965

The B1A and B2 are, respectively, low altitude high speed first strike (strike means nuclear) and high altitude low observability strike platforms. Our B1-B’s are not even nuclear capable anymore. The B-52 J series will also be non-nuclear, with some B-52’s saved for nuclear retaliation strikes after the target has been degraded with strikes from other platforms (ICBM, ALCM, SLBM, etc). This is restricted, I believe, to the H series, which won’t need the upgrades since precision is not exactly an issue dropping a strategic nuclear weapon.

As for the A-10 … I love it … absolutely the greatest thing since ATGM, however, the ONLY thing that kept it in service was the ARMY’S request to take over ALL the A-10’s when the Air Force announced in the 90’s that it was a cold war relic that would be retired. Without those Warthogs we’d have lost a great many more people in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upgrading them is nice, but with its primary armament being the GAU-8 30mm Gatling Gun its built around, I’d say that upgrading the B-52 fleet is somewhat more important. The A-10 operates at distances such that even a rookie pilot should be able to put a dumb iron bomb on target with the first attempt.

They sure were, look up Linebacker on Google. On December 22 , 1972 we launched 214 B-52’s from Okinawa and Thiland

Ah, and yet the Air Force could, absent the carriers, wipe out our entire surface fleet from beyond their surface to air range. As for those “too expensive” F-22’s. Tell you what. I’ll take 4 F-22’s and you can have 24 F-18 Super Hornets, and when its over I’ll still have 4 F-22’s and the F-18’s will be smoking holes in the ground or splashes in the water. Even though both use the SAME (similar actually, but that’s supposed to be a secret) air to air missiles. There is one HECK of alot about the F-22 that no one outside the Air Force and serious plane watchers knows about. On the down side the sophisticated stealth components ARE difficult to maintain, and the plane does well to have a 90% availability level. All that’s left to do is complete the skins adding OLED components and it’ll not only be invisible to EM, but have significant advantages in visual combat ranges.

And yes, it’s too, and I doubt anyone who hasn’t bothered to learn the difference probably doesn’t know enough to evaluate the tactical or strategic importance of weapons beyond which they are intimately familiar, and like you, inclined to overestimate or underestimate their usefulness or deadliness … afterall the cost of the F-22 is LESS than the cost of the LCS, which could be destroyed by any Air Force plane including, with some exceptions, cargo planes dropping JDAMS out the back on top of targets prowling the shorelines simply by having someone with a laser designator on the ground. And you don’t even want to THINK of what could happen to a MEF if an Air Force cargo plane dropped a MOAB on it.

The only edge the Navy has are its carriers (golly, expensive airplanes) or SM-2ER’s or better on Aegis warships, which missiles are darn near as costly as the cheaper planes and missiles they’re aimed at, and which ships can be knocked out of action with a speedboat if you use enough of them and come in fast. The LCS was created so we wouldn’t have to deploy those ships alone on patrol missions anymore for PRECISELY this reason. The LCS was supposed to be a significantly cheaper solution, but the cost of building and maintaining two different variants to keep the defense contractors happy totally eliminated cost saving through mass production. A great ideal executed poorly, and grossly underarmed for its size. I expected it to carry at least a 76mm automatic cannon, the 57mm gun is incapable of engaging an enemy ship larger than a frigate effectively, and even then the frigate, having missiles, will win most of the time.

Try this at an airfield once the F-22 gets more squadrons around the country, or now if you happen to know where they’re based … Try a police radar gun on it while its on the runway. One or two things will happen, either you’ll get nothing (or some other radar reflective object) or you’ll get a BS reading that isn’t close to accurate. Try this with ALL bands of radar. Now, flip the switch to LIDAR … guess what … it STILL won’t work. Now try to figure out why, and if you do let me know, as I have NO idea how they’re doing it.

USA Ret.

Check out a sat photo a Diego Garcia sometime. There are 4 B-2 enclosures and about 8 B-52’s on the field with some munitions stacked near them. There were also 4 spots where B-52’s obviously had been on the tarmac and which might have been in the air at the time, along with about 4 spots where either cargo planes or tankers were parked (again, might have been sent home, might have been in the air).

Frankly I’m surprised the Air Force didn’t have Google scramble the images of the base the same way they did the Naval Observatory when they were installing the ABM system there..

Either that or they WANT Iran to know there’s a first strike nuclear force nearby. Always.

It is still the best and most capable standoff weapon we have

Then buy better new knives..

I was at an air show along the lakefront of Chicago around summer 2000 and the B1B did a flyover at low altitude coming over the lakefront from the west headed east and then turned to the north. No warning the B1B was coming until the ungodly roar of all engines in afterburner and full throttle at approx 500 ft AGL gave thousands of people earaches and rattled windows all around and actually shook the ground, damn that one woke everybody up real quick. An awesome display of power, very impressive.

wow, these comments, are there really so many morons in the good old USA?

$313millionUS isn;t a bad deal considering the platform can be use as a stand off weapon…i still believe we need to think about a stealth system and im sure there is one in the works…lol

in the 1980’s it was ALCM not harpoon 6 on each wing 12 in the bay on a rotating clip, 48 2000 lb bombs in the bay for normal bombing the bad guys. 2 different tail guns some had vulcan cannons varible fire rate of 2000/4000 rounds per min. or 4 radar tracked 50 cal. i loaded them to go bear hunting they were and still are one fine platform.

how about cutting out foren aid and upgradeing the BUFFs bomb the poopoo out of these peeps that hate us so much why pay them to hate us? could start with all those stan countrys. cost adv the B-52 will save money over buying new long range heavy bombers. cut the budget? start with health care for elected jerks, cut the staff for congress as they can not do anything productive., who needs a staff if not working?

Well put!

Boeing bought out Rockwell, search it, and new plans.

Why not re-engiine while they are a it.

With modern radars and satellite capabilities, even the enhanced B-52 will not be invisible to sophisticated anti-air missiles. One supposes, therefore, these planes will be used against third tier nations lacking capable defenses. Otherwise, we might envision a nightmare role for the B-52’s after a US First Strike against China or even Russia. And yes, there is a First Strike Plan. I said it was a nightmare.

carriers main offensive capacity: fighter/fighter-bomber aircraft. you get into a nasty furball of a fight and loose most of those aircraft, what does a carrier become? a big hole in the water, not good for much.

I worked on the B-52’s at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, the planes that came in from Diego Garcia were a mess.
You would touch the skin and rivets would pop right thru them because of the corrosion caused by sea air, the spars, longerons and stringers would have massive amounts of white powdery corrosion on them making then useless, it required cutting out whole sections and doing major repairs to make them airworthy.
They are old technology and should all go to storage in Arizona, the B-1 and B-2’s are far superior and upgrades would be minimal, yes they are smaller and don’t have the payload capability of the B-52 but just how many bombs do we need on a mission anyway.
The real time info feeds should help us get on target and not waste much ordinance, slinging massive amounts of money at old technology is just plain asinine!

The current Model is the “H” which was built in 61–62 — The “D” model which was the work horse in ‘Nam was built in 55–56 . I was a gunner on the D.

It’s a stand off platform

Now that I think about it, the analogy should be

“It’s like putting new wine into an old bottle” if you want to disparage the upgraded B-52. As we all know, old wine is better than new wine…

“Most” is anybody who doesn’t have serious assistance with their missile systems.

Vietnam had strict ROE combined with stupendous Soviet/Chinese assistance. Few people on the planet will have access to the assistance, and it’s even less likely the US will be so hamstrung again.

Cut the welfare, free Obama phones, Obama care, and all the graft Obama has shot down to his political cronies like Solyndra and other green wastes of tax dollars and keep the Military at the same levels which provide hundreds of thousnads of jobs nationwide.

We still need to kill people and destroy property as cheaply as possible, especially in these days of outsourcing and downsizing . Nothing else in the AF inventory can do conventional bomb delivery as cheaply as the BUFF. It would have been nice to buy up all the parked 747’s post 9/11, but that opportunity has passed.

Talk about getting bang for the buck (pun intended)

Air Force Leadership?
Mutually exclusive terms.…..

Use the upgrade cost to fix them up to buy the YF-23.

Most of these I read are simply people who know very little of how these things work, and trying to act like they do. Nice to see someone point that out and put useful info out here!

Are they In NEED of an A&P Mechanics for overhaul ?

No Kellogg, those old photos of massive bomb loads were not photo shopped. During the Vietnam years we carried 108 bombs or more depending weather we were carrying 500 pound bombs or 750 pounders. That was conventional weapons. Of course wen you start getting into nuclear or guided weapons the configuration it totally different. The B-52 is such a weapons platform that is so versatile that it will be able to be used & modified many times over in the next many years to meet the changing technology and the changing demands of modern warfare.
I know because I was a Crew Chief on B-52 D&G models during the Vietnam days. I was there.

Thank you for the comment. As an older BUFF Radar Navigator, it is nice to see the old girld still around., Heck back in the 1980 we knew the 52 would last till at least 2040 and that the B-1 would be phased out around 2020. However when the B-1 came in, it was planned to be phased out in 2030. So all of the ‘new’ bombers were to come in and go out while the B-52 was still flying.

I flew in the B-52 from 83 — 92. Even back then we knew the BUFF would last till at least 2040. The B-1 tried to come in and failed initially. That frame is targeted to be phased out in 2015 — 2020. When the B-2 came in, it already had a phase out date of around 2030. Even then it was known no airframe can do what the BUFF can do, carry the weapons it can and has the range it has. Why do you think no B-1s were in Desert Storn? They could not get there and could not put non-nucs on target. This upgrade will actually save money — for the BUFF costs less to fly than the other birds as well.

Certainly not stealthy — but not all battlefileds will require that.

A 60-year old aircraft design is the backbone of the USAF fleet. Quite an accomplishment!
Upgrading the eight turbojet engines to four modern efficient turbofans would do this fine aircraft
justice and keep operating costs down as well as reducing pilot workload.

I’m sure that if the B-52’s design could have bettered, such aircraft would have already been built and the B-52 retired, but in spite of its age it still remains the world’s best heavy bomber.

b-52 should be retired .hi tech and stealth are required now. everything else is just a turkey hb jerry

What an amazing airplane. Most were built in the 60’s, so if they retire in 2040, that is an amazing life for anything in the Military.

The reason is so you didn’t have to learn either Russian or Chinese. Let me offer you a humble, heartfelt apology for all those years I lived every other week of my life away from home on nuclear alert. Khruschev knew it, Brezhnev new it, and we averted the onset of WW III more times than most of us want to remember.
I am so sorry we did it, because you and your ilk were NOT worth it. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy your upcoming left-wing liberal, socialist-Marxist, one-party controlled dictatorship. You deserve nothing less!

Go back and check your photo’s RE: what’s written here above. Having worked part of the B-52 modernization programs, after 11 yrs of flying ALCM-capable G-models, the nuc isse issue is non inclusive– nuc’s don’t require –1760 interfaces. CALCM’s do (different from ALCMs)! Neither do Harpoons. JDAM’s, and JASSM’s, prior to this upgrade were ALL carried externally, where MilStd-176– wiring was available. NOW, those kinds of weapons can be carrried internally as well. As the weapons world move more to conventional weapons, the need fopr MilStd –1760 computer interface drives where the ‘smart’ conventional weapons can be carried. Don’t dis the BUFF if you’re not sure of the information !!!!!
–MLH– B52G instructor bombardier, HQ bomber acquisition prgm manager, 1985–2005

Read it again Burnerjack. The H-models…the only model left, WAS NOT used in VietNam. The D model, F’s sparingly, the G’s were used in that conflict. Linebacker I and II were serviced by the earlier versions of the bomber we still proudly service and fly today!


Obvious you never heard about the long range stand off weapons like JASSM. These are stealthy, accurate and very deadly to the hardest targets. Except for JDAM bombs, the B-52 doesn’t need to be close to a target area, heance the term “stand off weapons”

Well said. With weapons like JDAM and JASSM, they enemy has plenty to fear. The B-52 is can use stealh missiles to break down doors and the JDAMs will precisely detroy any enemy force. People forget that in WWII, thousand of planes and over 28,000 airmen were lost taking out the German war machine. A few B-52 with today’s weapons can destroy a nation’s defense capability within a few weeks without the massive loss of life in the civilian populations. The B-52 has proven reliability, it is cost effective, and adaptable.

by god they breed em stupid in the Air Force. Huge expenditure of tax money, for NOTHING. This is all about somebody who bought a senator or 2, wanting the refurb business, or a big piece of it. This useless crap needs to end.


with the US in it’s role as a juggernaut of war, the B-52 is the ONLY aircraft (most certainly not the B-2) that can perform the duty it has on earth. most of the B-52 fleet has be destroyed due to arms limitations treaties. they are laid out at Davis-Monthan AFB in rows of the parts of each aircraft after they are cut up. the US is enjoying playing with toy plastic planes that amaze hell out of american morons, but there’s still a sixty year old aircraft that NOBODY has bested so far.

Dude, those pics of “massive numbers of bombs” were old pictures of Vietnam era loadouts and were the 100 or so 500lb and 750lb free fall, unguided, bombs mounted in internally and externally that we could carry for ArcLight strikes back then.

Even strategic loadouts on our G Models at Mather with the 390th BW (SAC) 1971 carried two special weapons internally and two more on AGM-28 Hound Dog missiles.

Sad thing is we built about 700 airframes and under 60 remain. There are kids flying the same planes their grandfathers flew.… What a plane.

I have been out of the loop for a while, but I do believe that most of the J-DAM’s are at least 2000lb (Mk 84) or 1,000lb (Mk83) bodies and I’d guess a H model could handle about 12–20 of those.

1. Depends on the strategic and tactical control of the airspace you are operating in.

Stealth was meant to sneak in and cut the head off the snake, the radars and control centers. After that conventional A/C can operate with relative (not complete) safety.

Also from 40–50000 feet a J-dam actually has a respectable stand-off distance.

As to free fall “carpet bombing” apart from the physical damage, there is a psychologic component. The NVA called the B-52 the silent death as they never heard or saw the A/C… Their first clue being the impact of a pod of six B-52’s dropping 100 bombs each. I have seen arclight strikes personally, they are especially impressive at night, from a distance of course.….

The effectiveness can also be measured by the rapid return of the NVA to the peace talks after the Linebacker II b-52 raids into downtown Hanoi.

The same tactic was used on in the sandbox on the front line Iraqi troops where precision wasn’t the issue.

Yup, the Ma Duece began service in 1922. They are back in production today, and the “modern” replacements we tried didn’t work as well. I call it the perfect heavy machinegun and one of John Brownings best designs.

So, being “old” doesn’t automatically mean “obsolete.”

Obsolete happens when the item can no longer perform the task it is used for. As a deep-penetration, high altitude, strategic nuclear bomber, the B-52 is indeed “obsolete.” Other mission tasks it can perform are another matter.

Hey. D model guy from the late 70’s. ‘lots of bombs’.…The D model was the work horse for gravity bomb work. 108 drop positions with both internal racks and external pylons loaded up. A full rotation of the BRIC knob would scatter destruction for MILES! Weirdest part of these big pieces of history: Although they had seen many weapons systems come and go, many times some of the on-board stuff would remain, like wiring harness’ and controllers. The buffs I worked with retained their classic SEA paint– black underneath, camo upper sides and tops. They also retained, among other things, the firing system for the AGM-28, the Hound Dog, Americas first real long range high speed cruise missile. Big, Bad, Odd and Loved. I saw satellite photos some years later of my birds with their heads and wings cut-off in the deserts of Davis-Mothan.…sigh.

I usually find the “stupid” ones are actually those that first start calling others opinions “stupid.”

Your arguments, even if incorrect in many aspects, would have had more weight had you not injected the name calling into them.

As to Vietnam.… Linebacker II we ran 729 bombers into Hanoi and lost 15 A/C. Considering the A/D in the area, a relatively low loss rate. USAF planning caused most of the losses due to repeately using the same flight paths and faulty tactics that weakened the directional courntermeasures signals to a point where the Fan Song Radar could break through.

AGM-86 ALCM missles, carried by B-52’s, CAN destroy hard targets as can the Block IV Tomahawk. You really need to update your data.

EB-52 FTW. Dale Brown has written a whole series about the exploits of Col McLanahan and the Megafortress. Good stuff.

The BUFF is a bomb truck. Once Air Superiority is established the BUFF can come and get you day after day. It also has stand off capability with cruise missiles. It is more deadly today than the first day it flew. When the Air Force has a bomb truck that and do it cheaper than the BUFF we can then retire the BUFF. The Air force does not have a bomb truck that can do it cheaper than the BUFF.

I am 65 years old. The BUFF will be delivering grief on the cheap after I am dead. LONG LIVE THE BUFF!

High-bypass engines have a considerably larger diameter than do the TF-33s. The landing gear may be too short to facilitate replacing the four two-engine pods with with high-bypass engines, and I can guarantee you that lengthening the landing gear is not feasible.

Wrong.…B-52’s can fly well above any ground to surface missile defense systems rendering them ineffective. Still a lot of mileage to be had out of these work horses especially after being upgraded with new digital avionics at a reasonable cost. This can stretch their service for about another 20 years or so until the really good stuff is ready.

Yeah, guess this guy doesn’t understand the difference between smart and dumb bombs. Every smart bomb has to be linked to the cockpit to allow for retargeting en-route. Can punch a grid coord into a bomb if you aren’t linked to it. Dumb bombs never needed those links. I am a little disappointed that they only could get 8 J-series bombs into the BUFF’s belly. The B-2 is know to be able to get 80 of the GBU-38 500lb JDAMs internally. Now, that is a haul of bombs, each targeting an individual aimpoint.

I remember my dad telling me about the B-52 when he was in the AF. He told me it could carry 82 500lb. bombs. That blew me away. THAT is a weapons platform!

Yes, the B-52 is the all time best long range high altitude bomber that has ever been produced. Fleets of these bombers can bomb are Islam enemies back into their caves and then entomb them inside. My kind of bomber that gets the job done.

I well remember loading bombs on the 52 while I was based at Chennault AFB, La in the early sixties during the SAC era.

My problem is that we always seem to try to develop new weapons programs even though the ones in use are quite adequate for what we need at present. So in about 7 years we will replace the 52 with the LRS-B? Why? To use againist who? China right now has billions invested in the USA. Russia’s annual budget is about 8X less than ours. We have over 1000 bases/installations overseas. When do we wake up to the fact that we can no longer be the world’s policeman and that the American people do not want that burden anymore? OBL was a terrorist but he was right on one thing. We cannot be defeated military wise but we can be goaded into defeating ourselves economic wise.

The principal reason they haven’t re-engined the B52 is political. When the AF was building B1 and B2 bombers, they didn’t want to give Congress any reason to cut back the budget for them. Upgrading B52s with new engines was something that would have extended their life, reduced maintenance, etc., but it was feared that Congress would use it as an excuse to cut the B1 and B2 budgets on the grounds that the B52 was now improved and would last longer, reducing the need for the new bombers.


That will be the next upgrade program for the B-52, conversion to unmanned bomber.

“Eisenhower is dead, and his successor is dead“
“successor’s successor” =LBJ
“successor’s successor’s successor”=Nixon
“successor’s successor’s successor’s successor”=Gerald Ford
Amusingly, Eisenhower’s sucessors-sucessors-sucessors-sucessor-sucessor (Reagan) is also dead. I suspect the B-52 will probably outlast Bush Sr, and may even outlast Clinton; but probably not Bush Jr or Obama.

This comment makes no sense. Environmental issues would be the least of the problems if there actually were active fuel leaks. The aircraft would burn to the ground before it could even get to the runway for takeoff.

The declared range of the ACM is <4,000 Km, with ALCM at 1,000 Km or 2,000 Km.

It’s too bad we scrapped the ACM’s.

Look at it this way. When the radar picks up the signature of a B-52 on the bad guy’s screen. He knows he is in for a very BAD DAY!!!

I too was there during that time frame, my Dad was a B-52 crewchief, and then he cross trained into Radio and Television with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). He was an Air Force SGT by the name of Sargent.

Sgt Sargent II

The first B-52 raids in Nam were flown in May 1965 from Guam. Two bombers were lost in that mission due to a mid-air collision. I was stationed at Carswell AFB, Texas at the time and TDY to Guam. I spent 21 years working and flying on the Bomb-Nav systems on the C,D,F,G,H model BUFF’s. Great Airplane!!

And they sort of stole the idea from the original Star Trek episode ‘The Changeling’

The B-1 already can carry up to 24 of the 2000 pound type J-Series weapons. It has been a workhouse in OEF and OIF, flying continuous ops since 2002 (I know because I have been deployed flying the B-1 over there three times already). The B-1R does not exist nor will it in any real near future. The B-1 is NOT the 21st century B-52. We have two very distinct mission styles, parameters and capabilities. Stealth is not the end all be all to the air war and the B-52 and B-1 WILL play a decisive role in any major air campaign for the forseeable future. They provide something that no pointy nose fighter jock will ever be able to provide.

This reply is made from a point of ignorance about the capabilities of the B-52 and B-1.

The bomber of the future DOES NOT have to be stealth. In fact, I would wager that stealth technology will become obselete in the near future. If you think the B-52 and B-1 will only enter when the enemy is too afraid to use its radars then perhaps you should revisit the air war during the opening stages of OIF.

A nation that is under ten years of sanctions is probably not the model you want to use to justify a force. It does mean that the B-52 will be perfect to kick in doors in third world countries, but projecting your future fights to be exclusively third world nations is a safe bet with a dangerous opportunity cost if you are wrong.

Eliminating B-1, and perhaps B-2 and replacing both with an NGB would allow a high-low mix, instead of low, medium low, medium-high, and high– mix of B-52, B-1, B-2, NGB.

we just need to bring the N Viets and their beloved Ho Chi Minh trail out of mothballs and everythg will be just fine and optumized. No need to cut any military expenses here. No sirreee.

Would you fly into war in an 80 year old aircraft? I would not fly to the next airport in an 80 year old aircraft, let alone into war in one.

What a joke. How can there be anything ‘massive’ about a program that effects less than 100 planes?? The B52 fleet is a mere shadow of its former self. But worse than that is the fact that our entire strategic air fleet ( 52’s, B1’s, B2’s) is a fraction of the size needed and no new airframes are coming online or even planned. So when you read silly articles like this that talk of ‘massive’ programs on a shrinking and obsolete fleet, be suspicious.

wow, I am impressed that this plane is still flying. I stood near the runway at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM
in 1955 to watch the delivery of the first B-52 to replace the freaky B-36 Peacemaker. I was impressed then and am even more impressed 58 years later.

I have not flown in BOO before

I worked on B-52 bombers from 1960 through 1964. The last bomber built at that time was built in 1958. In the Vietnam war , B-52 dropped as high as 500 conventional bombs each sortie. They also carried Hounddog missiles. The nuclear capabilities I suspect are still secret, though I am not sure.

I was in the service in the early 60’s,Kennedy was Pres, not Ike. What do we have better as a long range bomber than the B-52? Unless you have someone better to play, go with a updated old vet. If Obama finds out he will cut the program for another trip someplace.

You forgot about the A10, another damn fine aircraft the USAF is determined to replace with a less capable and dozens of times more expensive F35. Idiots.

Idiots meaning the procurement guys

yes they were the workhorses of bombing the laotian,cambodian,farmers by the millionsyes millions. they carpet bombed their way into massive civilian extermination under that crtetin kiss en germ. und nixon.and just what prey tell will they be used on next besides afghanis iraquis,.

TF-33 Turbofans and actually No, all the KC-135N’s have been made into R’s.

Sounds like Obama, because Obama is trying all roads to America’s destruction. But the truth, keep making our defenses stronger in all ways!

The look alike King Berry says to remove B-52’s from our countries service.

Great aircraft. I was just specifically referring to the B-52’s loiter time.
The great thing about the A-10 is that it’s very, very rugged. I’ve seen pictures of A-10’s with major pieces missing that made it back. Everything is redundant and armored. The F-35 may be a good plane, but it’s not an A-10.

The B52 does not need an increase in weapons payload capacity.

There are around 90 remaining B1 aircraft and around 20 B2s. Certain Ohio-class subs have been converted to the SSGN role and equipped with up to 160 cruise missiles each. Many other Navy ships can carry a small number of cruise missiles. Carrier delivered ordinance is now mostly precision guided. In this era of sequestration, I would deactivate the entire B52 fleet as superfluous. There’s plenty of existing capacity to deliver precision weaponry both in a tactical manner and using stand-off platforms.

’67-’71 You got a chuckle from me — Good ole’ Arc-Light “D” Models Jet Eng Tech — FMS from McCoy AFB

Should bring back the F-111. The last model, G, had all the latest and greatest avionics and weapons mods. EF-111 as well. Perfect for all this mid-east stuff going on. Just sitting in the bone yard waiting to get the call up !

Yea — I worked on the AGM-28, the Hound Dog Missile at McCoy AFB Fl — it was powered by a Pratt & Whitney
J-52 Jet Engine —

This isnt your daddys b52, ever hear of ecm or mald? Google and educate youself

I love you SAC .Thank you for keeping the watch.And ‚when it becomes necessary.…. “spelling it out ” for the bad guys.

I can’t read every post but it is very obvious that most of you have not stood on the side of the runway at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airbase, Thailand and watched B-52s loaded with hundreds of bombs taking off in waves flying to support our soldiers in Viet Nam/Lao and Cambodia. As a military Cop guarding them, and other platforms at Ubon, Thailand, you have no idea of the welling of pride one feels seeing these aircraft take off on these missions. I“l add this final touch to this post-as a disabled vet, I stand for the National Anthem, and cry, God Bless America is a You Tube all you need to watch and come 2016 God Please Change this Governments direction!

Thanks for your service to the Nation.I saw several at Lackland when i was 7 .God only knows where they were headed in that summer of 1961 .And you’re right on the money-awe inspiring to know that those massive birds of prey were OURS .Even then –I knew no one was going to F with us.

Out of Guam 1965 and on my friend. I was there TDY from Ellsworth, SD. Research all it’s uses again my friend, bombed the **it out of NAM from there. Worked 14 hour days and nights sending them off that island.

Semper Fidelis

I worked on some of those proposals and if I can recall correctly there was a lot of issues associated with a re-engine plan involving the “flexible” wings and twist that the new engines would generate.

The problem with the BUFFs isn’t it’s capabilities, but rather the finite life of the air frame itself. Years of wear and tear resulting in metal fatigue cannot be remedied; the only solution is to build a new aircraft. Having said that, the B52 cannot perform all missions given it’s limitations vis a vis stealth and air speed. However, with it’s load capacity and range, it remains a tremendously useful tool in the US arsenal for military force and political power projection. The air force is simply getting as much mileage as it can get, out of what has been a proven star performer.

You forgot the sheer impact to are enemy’s of seeing the effects of A B52 carpet bombing run. The O Shit I’m so screwed feeling it gives cant be understated. That is if thy survive.

If the Reds can produce …and proliferate the simple , but effective AK47 for longer than the B52 has been in service –why in the hell would we be foolish enough to replace it with something out of a Tranformer’s movie –and at today’s rates?

In the meanwhile, out in Area 51b, Systems Integration Testing of secret death star ‘Boo!’ is wrapping up

It is less expensive to keep the B-52 fleet running than developing a new plane. Look at the JSF for instance. Along with Battleships, I believe that some should be on duty all the time.
To quote someone else, “many problems can be solved when you darken the sky with B-52’s”

nothing better for carpet bombing.…. I guess we are still planning on carpet bombing.…..

the airspace will be sanitized before the BUFF;s go in.…then the carpet of MK82’s will get laid!!!

——-too few, too complex, too expensive—-.….…use adverb, not preposition.…..

Guess what happens when we go to war with someone, WE immediately take out their entire air force capability so we own the skies. We have special planes for special missions. The B2 to Evade Radar, the B1B to fly under radar and both of these are capable of carrying a multitude of Weapons, but they cannot carry the brute massive firepower of a BUFF. But then again, most major super power will not attack us because they don’t know what we might have. Guess what? We have a lot of Top Secret weapons that have never been used or exposed yet.

Actually not faked. I did a tv story at a SAC/Boeing base in the 80s.…with the cruise missile sixpacks under their wings. Def not photoshopped. I don’t think photoshop was even around then. I saw em with my two eyes and my photographer videotaped them. And we aired the story that night on the 6 oclock news. Those were back in the days when Boeing-Wichita let us cover a lot of stories, We even got access (with their PR guy) of one of their skunkworks.…tho obviously, we didn’t get to see much other than to report Boeing developed stuff in there. Boeing actually built a fully operational B-52 simulator with its various workstations, which we were able to tape a mock nuc run on nearby Okla City.…just for us. Sadly, they didn’t get the contract. Singer did. Boeing and the Sac base next door were good to us local TV types. Well until the leak of the TItan missile silo that killed 9 airmen near Rock Ks. We didn’t get to tape in THERE anymore. But those silos were really impressive. Just like in the movies. I tell ya, standing on a metal platform at the top level, with APs holding M-16s while we taped an on-duty missile in the hole and the command module with the two lieutenants turning keys in an exercise for us.……seeing a nuc warhead up close and personal? It was like being in church. I loved my days as an aviation reporter so long ago.

Uh the B52 is just a heavy delivery system. Even its engines are quieter now. I thought it was so clever in the 80s to say that the B52 is actually older than the pilots who fly it. And they were upgrading it and moderizing that ship 30 years ago at BMAC… Boeing Military Aircraft Company in Wichita. Boeing also built the fuselages to the popular 737 and shipped them to Seattle for assembly. And the front end of the 747. They employed 16,000 Wichitans in those days.

Nothing speaks diplomacy like a fully loaded “BUFF” on a low level bomb run. Tends to scare countries to the Peace Talks. Most of the time we only need to “fly the flag” and the B-52 does just that, so why reinvent the wheel. Lets keep the “Stratofortress” and the “Hercules” flying. Two airframes we know can deliver….SSgt Burke, 1970s and 1980s autopilot weenie on both.

Sir, that would be:
1) The abilty to maintain flight with 2 engines out
2) A place to take a dump
3) The ability to stand up and walk around

Did I miss something?

fool that plane is all we got , has been for awhile..

The key to understanding this is it is costing millions to upgrade the B-52 BUFF’s. Millions is petty cash to the Air Force brass. This program is costing them a fraction of the upkeep to just fly the B02’s which are serious money pits. B-52’s cost very little to keep in the air compared to B-2’s. In fact, the best of the three heavies is the B-1, but that plane is really disliked by the brass since it can do almost everything the B-2 can for a fraction of the price. The other thing is the political and public relations of keeping planes in the air longer than most American will live. The public worries about the needs of the air force stuck with ancient relics and will provide more cash for the boondoggles they pursue like the F-35. The F-22 was very expensive, but at least it does what it should.

without-the b-52s we would never be able to transport troops or suplies go USAF

Actually, in future wars, enemy airspace — where Generation 4+ and 5th generation enemy fighters and modern SAM systems (e.g. the S-300, S-400, S-500, HQ-9/12, HQ-16, SA-11/17) will be present in significant numbers — will likely never be fully sanitized. And if you want it to be, the USAF will need far, far more than just 20 stealthy bomber.

The fact that I’ve been trying to get across for so many weeks — which you people with your thick skulls are STILL refusing to accept — is that in future wars (or even today), a small “silver bullet” fleet of stealthy aircraft won’t suffice. Not even close.

You educate yourself, you ignorant chump. To use ECM, you need to be close enough to use them and jam enemy systems. But YOU CAN’T because modern enemy air defense systems — with ranges measured in hundreds of kilometers — will shoot you down LONG before you can get to such a point.

The current Russian and Chinese air defense systems — which are proliferating around the world — are not your daddy’s. Or even yesterday’s.

That used to be the case in the past. But it won’t be in the future. In the past, after 1945, the US has taken on only weaklings — weak, primitive states like Iraq, Serbia, and Libya which were not capable of seriously contesting control of their own airspace. (And yet, the vast majority of Serbia’s SA-6 batteries survived the war, while a Serbian SA-3 battery shot down an F-117 and an F-16 while damaging another F-117.)

In the future, the US will NOT be able to “take out their entire air force and own the skies”, let alone do so immediately. In the future, enemy airspace will be infested with enemy fighters and air defense systems and will be contested for a long time, if not for the entire duration of the conflict.

The B-1 has a BIG radar signature. It would make a nice target for North Korea’s SA-11/17 systems, or even for Iran’s and Syria’s SA-3/4/5/6 batteries.

Top Secret weapons? Other countries, including Russia and China, have lots of them as well. Like the J-20 and J-31 stealthy fighters that Bob Gates was completely surprised by.

Actually, he’s in for a very good day cos he just got a very lucrative and easy to shoot down target.

YOU are wrong here. The B-52’s ceiling, IIRC, is 50 angels (50,000 ft). Modern (and even legacy) SAMs have a ceiling of up to 70,000 ft. The B-52 CANNOT outfly them. It cannot fly over their envelope. This was proven in Vietnam where the B-52 got shot down quite often when flying at high altitudes to avoid AAA.

SAM systems of the VIetnam War era were VERY effective. Modern Russian and CHinese systems are even more so effective.

The B-52 is a useless POS. Just like you.

My arguments are fully correct, and the opinions that other people have posted here ARE stupid — which is why I called them that way.

Firstly, you really need to educate yourself about the basics. Cruise missiles CANNOT destroy hard targets. By “hard targets” I mean structures such as bunkers hidden under at least 20 ft of reinforced concrete. The only weapons in America’s (heck, the world’s) ENTIRE inventory which can penetrate that are the GBU-28 (if I recall the designation correctly) and the new Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). Moreover, the AGM-86 is facing retirement quite soon.

Furthermore, one Block IV Tomahawk missile costs well over a million dollars, whereas a bunker-busting bomb costs a few dozen thousand dollars. Using cruise missiles on a large scale is wasteful and inefficient.

As for Vietnam, the USAF lost at least 17 B-52 bombers there (counting MORE than just Operation Linebacker II, which was but a small (but important) part of that war). All of which were lost to SA-2 SAMs — which were among the world’s first SAM types, deployed originally in the Soviet Union in the 1950s.

And yet, the mighty US Air Force STILL lost SEVENTEEN B-52s (and a great deal of many other aircraft of all types) to these old, 1950s’ vintage SAM systems, deployed in Vietnam in the 1960s and used in that decade and the 1970s.

FYI, modern Russian and Chinese air defense systems, such as the S-300 family, the S-400, the HQ-9, the HQ-12, and the (shipborne) HQ-16, are SEVERAL generations newer and more advanced, and several times better, than the 1950s vintage SA-2 SAMs the Viets used. The Russians and the Chinese are quite willing to sell these systems to ANYONE able to pay for them — Syria and Iran are in talks to buy the S-300VM variant.

Time to face the facts: the B-52 is a woefully obsolete and useless piece of crap.

No photoshopping.….…..I can’t count the number of Buffs we refueled over the Phillippines during Vietnam with all that scary stuff hanging off those wings.….radio silence, pitch black, then all of a sudden there that monster was about 50 feet off the end of the boom. No telling how many iron bombs were internal. I was just a Tanker Crew Chief.


Uh.…Upgrading is probably cheaper than NEW.
Stand-off and firing stealthy supersonic or subsonic cruise missiles is safer than stealth airplanes flying in.
Remember, a cruise missile can be fired from 700 miles to the target.

hey ranger, how do you fly with only a right wing?

how do you have time to post ? you must spend all your time at faux news&and tuning the am to ol’ rushbo. get over it obama won

Bullshit plan .. dont approve

Well, you should look up the ADM-141 and 160 MALD/TALD. Saturation has long been a valid technique we have used. If the Cold War had gone Hot, B-52G/Hs would literally have plowed their way into Soviet airspace with a nuclear firestorm. Each Buff carrying 12 ALCMs with each a 200kt warhead and a 600mile range at least, plus 8 similarly warheaded SLAMs in the bay on the rotary, 50–100 miles. Nuking up every enemy air defense asset, early warning radar, airfield, staging field.

Once inside, BUFFs would drop to 300 feet or less in altitude and hide in the terrain, popping up enough to toss more SRAMs or ALCMs, or staying low and dropping lay-down nukes. With the great ECM kit, All-weather terrain following radar, Day/Night TV, and outstanding crew, you would be suprised at just how survivable / lethal BUFFs would’ve been.

The AGM-129 Stealth Cruise missile starting in 1990, with better ranges with the ALCM, didn’t hurt things either, with the retirement of the SRAM.

S’all good. The BUFF and her crews still have lots of tricks up their collective sleeves.

Troll much?

I’ll be happy to say that SAM kinematics have quite a bit of variability based on the altitude of the target. It is hilariously easy for even Triple Digit SAMs to be outmaneuvered at high altitudes by a target that doesn’t continue on in a predictable course. Keeping missiles off the beam is an old but effective technique.

At anyrate most any enemy AD will be moot when your “POS” BUFF starts tossing MALDs and JASSMs at 300 miles or God help everyone, AGM-129s at 900. Those Trip digit SAMs will start looking pretty pathetic in short order.

LOL< you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Outmaneuvering SAMs — even those of the first generation — is not “hilariously eeasy”; on the contrary, it’s very hard to do, and requires highly maneuverable, highly agile, nimble aircraft manned by very experienced and highly-skilled pilots. Heavy bombers like the B-52 and the B-1 stand ZERO chance of doing this — they’re just too sluggish (as are all bombers; that’s one of the downsides of a bomber). Furthermore, SAMs — even those of the first generation, but especially the most modern Russian and Chinese SAMs — are highly agile even at very high altitudes. You would need to at least 9 Gs sustained to outfly then.

JASSMs and MALDs? Don’t make me laugh. MALDs won’t fool enemy air defense systems, and JASSMs have a range of only 300 mi, meaning they can hit targets ONLY in China’s littoral — and only one s that are soft, unhardened, small, and static, because the B-52, to be safe, would have to stand off hundreds of miles away from China’s borders and airspace.

As for AGM-129s, they’ve all been retired and scrapped already.

YOU are the one who is trolling here.

Of course most those weapons required another platform to Lase the target or required pre-flight targeting. The upgrades allow real-time targeting internally or via datalink. The real issue is B-52 used for that purpose need air supremacy to be effective.

Let’s see — when the Cruise Missiles, F-22 and F-35’s have destroyed all of the Ground to Air defenses, and established Air Dominance over the area. Mary Poppins could drop firecrackers with impunity.
Were you guys asleep during the GW1 and 2?

I doubt people are still flying these things. I imagine that most of the chatter obtainable is via a single signals chip designed to deceive enemies into thinking these things are not drones.

I agree with your assessment that we will miss the A-10. I don’t think the F35 is the right successor, and there is no other on the horizon.

The B1A and B2 are hangar queens! B1A tends to fall out of the sky on long flights. The B52 is the only heavy bomber that we can rely on.

Won’t even need a remote control pilot. Future planes will be piloted by autonomous on board AI.


multiple configurations:
–The ability to carry up to 20 AGM-69 SRAM nuclear missiles was added to G and H models, starting in 1971
–A total of 194 B-52Gs and Hs were modified to carry AGM-86s, carrying 12 missiles on underwing pylons, with 82 B-52Hs further modified to carry another eight missiles on a rotary launcher fitted in the aircraft’s bomb-bay.
– Thirty B-52s were further modified to carry up to 12 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles each, while 12 B-52Gs were fitted to carry the AGM-142 Have Nap stand-off air-to-ground missile.

Old planes still have usefulness in many situations. The B-52 has many years of effectiveness left, if updated as described. No other nation has anything even close to the Buff. This upgrade is a wonderful bargain for the taxpayer. The B-52’s are no more vulnerable to enemy attack than the five or six naval vessels sitting off Syria ready to launch missiles against relevant targets at this moment. In today’s combat environment it’s technology against technology, with swift, acute danger present at all times. The F-15 was designed in the 1970’s, yet is still in active service. It has never been defeated in combat to this day. F-15’s and F-16’s, like the B-52’s, have been upgraded significantly many times over the years. All we read about these days are UAV’s, Special Forces, Infantry, and carrier task forces in unique Central Asian environments. Some commenters here tend to forget that the U.S. has many other ongoing military responsibilities elsewhere for which we must be ready at all times. The Air Force, like the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and, yes, the Coast Guard remains relevant in those areas also, with a broad array of outstanding capabilities.

LMAO, that was a bit glorified there Fred.

The B-52 has had substantial survivability upgrades to help combat modern SAM systems. While it’s not invulnerable to attack, it should help when in a strike package with other EW aircraft to help get into a high denial area.

Are you making assumptions that the B-52 is going to fly into an area alone? Commanders are not ignorant to the threats, that’s why we have EW warfare and assets that compliment that aspect for those that can’t go in solely by themselves (a.k.a. B-52)

But you are planning for a war that may never take place. Remember the F-22 was put in develop to combat a future stealth fighter. Now in turn, we were the ones fielding a next generation fighter and the Russians/Chinese are developing one in response to us. We essentially have driven that arms race further than it may of needed to go.

The S-300 system isn’t numerous enough and the S-400 system isn’t nearly quantifiable. They are very very very expensive systems and if we learn from what we are seeing, if it isn’t necessary to mass produce those SAM systems.. then they won’t make them. Same with the B-2, same with the F-22.

Likewise, it is unnecessary for the U.S. to mass produce a new generation stealth bomber. You will probably see numbers in the 40-60s. Until a wartime threat is assessed to require more.. it’s going to keep low numbers.

I am thoroughly impressed by your confidence in matters you are not aware of.

Do you really think Gates was surprised by the unveiling of the Chinese’s new stealth-fighter prototype?

There is what goes on in the unclassified world in terms of smoke and mirrors, there is what happens on the secret level, the top secret level and so on and so forth. It’s all a show. Everyone has aces in the hole. But do not act like it was a surprise.

Also, just because foreign countries demonstrate that they have the numbers doesn’t mean they have the skill. You still need training compounded with experience to really bring a challenge to the battlefield.

What experience do modern day Chinese/Russian SAM operators have?

Also, again, with the strike package argument, you are not going to have a B-1 go in alone like it does today in Afghanistan. In a highly inaccessible area, you will have EW support. It’s part of doctrine now.

The B52 is ideal for dropping tonnage on opposing ground forces when enemy air defenses are nonexistent or have already been degraded. For example, in Afghanistan, they can loiter over a combat zone and provide air support to special operations spotters working in conjunction with afghan forces. Other, more modern and expensive aircraft, like the stealth bomber, are designed for situations where we face an enemy that has active air defenses or even an air force of its own.

In case you have not noticed, we have not really had to face an enemy with real air defenses in quite some time. Even in the balkans, the AD was knocked out by tomahawks and stealth bombers during the early phase of the war. Anyone on the serbian side that dared to turn on a radar system, was atomized in minuets.

None of these “substantial survivability upgrades” mean a thing, nor will they mean anything if the B-52 ventures into airspace guarded by so much as a VIetnam War era SAM system. No upgrades can change a plane’s planform and thus the B-52’s huge radar sig. And to be able to jam enemy ADS, it would have to be close enough to do so — which it would never be allowed to do bc of the long range of enemy radars and missiles. Thus rendering your precious EW assets completely useless. The B-52 can never venture into enemy airspace — alone or even escorted. There’s a reason why the Viets shot down at least 17 B-52s during the Vietnam War with obsolete, 1950s vintage SA-2 SAMs. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

I am planning for a war that is VERY likely to take place — ESPECIALLY if the USAF doesn’t replace its current, woefully obsolete bombers.

The Russians and the Chinese would’ve developed stealthy fighters in any case — the Russians — first the MIG consortium, then Sukhoi — have been working on stealthy fighters since the 1960s. In fact, they, not we, invented stealth technology. Its father is a Russian scientist named Peter Ufimtsev.

Arms race? Right now, only two countries are racing: Russia and China. The US is not partaking in this race at all.

The S-300 system is VERY numerous and in service in large numbers in Russia and China, and in smaller numbers Belarus, Venezuela, Vietnam and Ukraine, soon to be joined by Iran and Syria (S-300VM). The S-400 is in large-scale service in Russia, with orders running through 2017, and has recently been ordered by China, which will likely operate it in large numbers and also has numerous HQ-9 (S-300 equivalent) batteries.

The S-300 and the HQ-9 are not expensive. The latter, as well as the S-400, are serious contenders for orders in Turkey, among other countries. They are available to anyone with the money to pay for it.

But even legacy Soviet/russian air defense systems are still very capable, and are ubiquitous around the world. Syria has the long-range SA-5 and the mobile, but short-range, SA-6 and SA-11/17, upgraded numerous times. Iran has SA-5s and SA-6s. Both have ordered S-300s. North Korea SA-2–8 and the SA-11/17. Even LEGACY Russian air defense systems can be very deadly if used in tandem with AAA and operated in a hide, shoot, and scoot manner, as the Serbs did in 1999 (shooting down one F-117 and damaging another), and as the Egyptians and the Viets did.

It is absolutely necessary that the USAF mass produce a next generation stealth bomber — especially since even the B-2 will likely lose penetration capability by the 2020s (according to CSBA’s Mark Gunzinger). The USAF, by its own admission, needs at least 100 aircraft. A small “silver bullet” force will be woefully adequate — as it already is.

It is you who is commenting on matters he’s ignorant of.

Gates, at least until 2011, swore that China would not field any stealthy fighters till 2020, and was completely surprised that its first flight took place during his visit. So surprised, in fact, that he asked Chairman Hu if the flight had anything to do with his visit. Hu swore that it didn’t. Of course Hu himself might’ve been surprised, cos he didn’t really supervise the PLA: part of the price he paid for the PLA’s support for him succeeding Jiang in 2002–2005 was that he allowed the PLA to… supervise itself.

As for Russian and Chinese SAM operators’ experience: puh-lease. The Russians basically INVENTED the modern SAM and the related employment doctrine, tactics, and training practices. THEY are the ones who have built all of the best SAM systems of the last 50+ years, and THEY invented “hide, shoot, and scoot” tactics as well as the doctrine of employing SAMs in tandem with AAA to create multiple layers of overlapping air defense systems. They then taught these tactics and that doctrine to the Viets, the Egyptians, and the Serbs among others. Heck, they even sent instructors and commanders to instruct and supervise their ADS crews, and deployed an entire PVO division to Egypt in the late 1960s.

The result? Their astute Viet and Egyptian students shot down hundreds of American and Israeli aircraft, while the Serbs shot down an F-16 and F-117 and damaged another F-117 and kept 19 of their 22 SA-6 batteries intact.

Lately, it is RUSSIA who has led the global development of air defense systems — long-range area protection systems such as the S-300 and S-400 on the one hand, and short-range “point” defense systems like the SA-11/17, SA-19, Tor-M1, and Pantsir-S1 on the other hand.

As for the Chinese, they have closely followed both Russian ADS tech and doctrine/tactics, without the need for instructors, procuring, in large numbers, both Russian and domestic technology.

EW aircraft? Don’t make me laugh. To be able to employ their capabilities and jam anything, you must be close enough to the system — but you won’t be, bc you’ll be shot down long before you can make it to the point from which you can jam it.

Hey all of you ding dongs picking on the Air Force for spending 1 billion on this program… Have you all looked at the price of a SINGLE B-2 bomber? They are over 1 Billion EACH! . Soooooo We’re going to refurbish about 50 B-52’s for the price of ONE B-1 bomber… AND they expect them to remain in service for at least 20 more years. This sounds like an excellent choice in my checkbook. Stealth isn’t necessary for the missions that this aircraft will be used for.

As an ex-Bone WSO, you are wrong on so many levels. The Bone offers tactical advantages to include a drastically reduced radar cross section, can reach over mach 1, lower terrain flying ability and can carry all-internal housed 24 GBU-31s, while employing a vast array of defensive countermeasures the Buff doesn’t have. That being said, after the START treaties with the Russians, Bones lost their nuke capes and the Buff retained them, along with the B-2.…thus their missions ceased to be the same. The B-1 was the low level penetration stop-gap to the USSR while the B-2 came online in the late 80s. In the meantime, the Bone has been the workhorse for both OEF and OIF and has more than proved its mettle in combat.…and with the upgrades on the block it will be around for a long time.

Yeah Bobby.…Loiter time, weapons load, dedicated weapons suite, and the crews aren’t a bunch of zipper suited sun gods with a severe case of super hero.

The b52 is an amazing platform that isn’t ready for the grave by far. I guess taxpayer would rather overhaul c-5 to carry bombs. Get rid of our biggest bomber ha ha libtard when ww3 breaks out you’ll be glad we’ve got them

essentially it is being converted into a piloted drone… thats all the geek talk was trying to say in the article, digital to digital comm…my a$$

There is a reason they call it a BUFF.

And EIGHT of them?

Word is that some of the wiring and components are so old that the airmen have no idea what they’re for and won’t touch them.

Let me guess, new improved bomb bay, new avionics, a new ad improved fire control system, but 1950’s era engines complete with their fuel ineffient capabilities.

Every year we hear people crying about how the days of the bombers is over. And every 5–10 years were get involved in another war and use these bombers.

Some of these postings only prove how ignorant they are! The B-52 is the BEST investment the USA ever made in Weapon systems. It helped win the Cold War and continues to be a viable dependable Weapon today.

Newer is not always better. Especially considering the B-1, F-111, F-35, etc, Even the vaunted B-2 is problamatic. Only 20 were built. They cost what 1 or 2 Billion, each! A replacement Bomber being talked about will probably cost much more & take even longer to develop. Then it too will be cancelled.

We have about 75+ B-52Hs in service. Not to mention many of the Airframe parts from 200 B-52Gs that we had.

The one criticism I have is that the B-52Gs & Hs should have been re-enginned DECADES ago. So much money was spent on Studies & tests & nothing came of it. The B-52Hs have a an Early Low bypass Fanjet engine. That was late 1950s technology.

Two annecdotes I’ve heard.
1. “The last B-52 Pilot has not been born yet”!
2. “When they retire the B-1Bs & B2s, they will send a B-52 to pick up the Crew’s at the Boneyard”!

Thank goodness we still have the B-52’s .

The BFF was designed to drop the big one on Moscow. It was obsoleted by the Minuteman. It seems to me that if we still need a big bomber, stick with the BONE. It’s supersonic!

We need it to bomb Toronto.

Better open eyes, we have a democrat in the white house, who just happens to hate “OUR” military.
And a congress full of peace-nics.
As usual when the above happens, we end up in a major war.
PS: that “end the war now” thingy, din’t work, 5 years on and we are still in Afghanistan.
And someone wants to attack Syria

Rumsfeld, the neo-cons, and the bright young dopes at the Pentagon got it all wrong with their “shock and awe” bs. If I were on the ground, I really wouldn’t be as concerned about a “precision bombing” as I would be about the whole G_damn world blowing up all around me. That’s what brought the North Vietnamese to the table, after they made Kissinger look stupid with “peace is around the corner”, and they were really tough people. That’s what got Saddam’s soldiers to fall apart in ’91, and if they’d done the same thing in Iraq in ’93, there’s a good chance we could’ve walked in, and kept all those lost arms and destruction from taking place, which helped lead to the chaos that followed.

That’s why the B-52 is important. Planes will be lost, as they were in Vietnam, but the mission will be accomplished. The B-52 is more than just another weapon system, it’s a political weapon, as well. You’ll remember Bin Laden got out pretty fast, once we started using them. So would I.

Just above, that should, of course, read “2003”, not ‘93’.

Good Investment in a flexible unique recallable weapon system. Dr. Richard Economy, Capt. USAF Retired

Sounds like someone has been reading Dan Brown’s “Flight of the Old Dog”.

I wonder how much the engines have changed over the years?

How about we take all that money for up grading these things and use it to upgrade our cities infrstructure?

I was about to post the same response about the radar signature when I came across your post. You are spot on about that just ask some Viet Nam era B52 pilots who flew the slot to bomb North Viet Nam and what a juicy target they made for the SAMs during their bomb runs.

The point isn’t whether it works or not. The point is, in which congressional districts are the bases, the logistical manufacturing facilities, and feed-ins to the program. The Military Industrial Complex doesn’t need to be functional. It just needs to keep the juice going until we run out of juice. Then the Fed refills the punchbowl ad infinitum. At some point the patient dies… then all of this is academic.

Enjoy your ride while it lasts.

Absolutely no reason to mothball or retire the B-52. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. Might be the best investment this country has ever made. Maybe the best aircraft ever built, I think B-52’s will be the first and the only aircraft, military or commercial to see 100 years of service. WOW!

There are two types of potential adversaries for the US. The first is the smaller, less powerful state that cannot stand up to US conventional forces to any effective degree. I’m talking about Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, etc. The second type is the larger, powerful state that can stand up to the US for a short time before inevitably being defeated. I’m talking about Russia and China here. Confict against both types of adversaries will result in US degradation of air defenses to the point that the B52 can operate as a bomb truck. Prior to the air defences being degraded, the B52s can effectively deliver stand-off weaponry. I think B52s are much more sensible than B1s and B2s which are too expensive and vulnerable to interception. Stealth doesn’t guard against being detected visually. Deep strikes into China on Day 1 on day one by B1s/B2s would lead to some of those aircraft being shot down. I think cruise missiles should be doing their job. On the other hand, B52s are cheap, long-ranged and versatile. The cost of the upgrades is not really that high. We should not be designing another bomber unless it is a non-stealthy bomb truck to fly for the next hundred years.

“The CONECT effort, slated to cost $1.1 billion overall, will unfold over the next several YEARS.“
“The IWBU effort is expected to cost roughly $313 million.“
WAKE UP you idiots…
If you think these costs are extravagant, consider the Obama WELFARE TRAIN costs that have increased by 37% since he took office. In just over four years, that’s MORE than over the last 20 YEARS. Obama has increased the Federal welfare programs from 43 when he took office to 126 (REPEAT… 126!!!). The bulk of these programs are intended primarily to GUARRANTEE DEMOCRATIC VOTES!
The “Unwed Mothers Program” ALONE costs $10 BILLION PER MONTH and DWARFS these important upgrades for our military. That program is only ONE of the FIFTEEN largest Federal welfare programs.
Obama’s Black supporters (>95% vote Democratic) are producing an average of 3.2 children per woman… 73% of which are born OUT OF WEDLOCK!
“Gimme some o’ that Obama money!!!”

They have been dropping JDAMS, paveways and other smart bombs for a long time, what this article is telling us, is that she will now be able to carry and drop MORE. Each JDAM needs a 1760 connection so it can talk to the plane. IYAAYAS!

Upgrading the B52 is the only smart thing the Air Force has done recently. (Re: A10 threat) more should. Actually returning more from storage should also be considered.

Given it’s long legs and comparitively heavy payload, and now upgraded to carry more advanced munitions and improved datalink capabilities, the Buff is the future (at least until NexGen comes on line). Hopefully the increased munitions options and improved datalink capabilities will translate into improved maritime J/C interoperability & TTPs.

Being a witness to the spring of 1952 testing of the BUFF at Larson AFB (Moses Lake, WA.), I can only
say that it was an awesome and satisfying experience. The AF started receiving and using them in 1954.
The only item in our arsenal that has outlasted it is gumpowder and ships with bottoms.

people that have poor comments to say about an aircraft that was built a while ago that may be a little slower than the B-2, should look at the large assortment of different weapons it can carry, let alone being able to carry 70,000 lbs. of weapons. The B-2 has a very limited pay load and they are easily detecded when they launch their weapons.

There can’t be much older in inventory than the B-52’s.

Maybe some Garands in a warehouse, or ceremonial M1903’s, followed by the USS Constitution?

The Buff is an awesome aircraft, but… it has 8(!) dirty, hungry, maintenance intensive turbojet (not even turbofan!) engines, wings that pre-date supercritical airfoils, and a radar cross section the size of a small ship. In the age of $5.00 / gallon JP, why not just procure some 737 or 777, install a bomb-bay, install a pair of ejection seats, and some targeting/ navigation/ECM gear, and call it good? In fact you probably don’t even need the pilots and the ejection seats! Just make it a UAV!

The B-52s remaining in service as bombers are the B-52H model with TF-33 engines, which are low-bypass turbofans based on the J-57 which powered all earlier B-52 versions. These early turbofan engines are about 40 percent more powerful than the engines in the earlier B-52 models but only slight more efficient.


“Built very strong structurally”. Seems odd that there is no mention of what changes were made to warrant that description. I seem to recall stories of wings falling off on the runway. Were the wings or wing box replaced at some point fleet-wide?

It was the same missions out of Anderson AFB, Guam. Massive MITO’s and “Ball Games”.

Now that picture is really funny. How did/do they correct the missiles who are arguing?

OK. So you’re point is that you’re an idiot, but from a different country?

“1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade”

MIL-STD 1760 is a weapon interface standard I’ve worked with. See http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​M​I​L​-​S​T​D​-​1​760

I saw 2 B1-B’s do a low level flyover and an afterburner climbout from Arlington Cemetery twice back a few years ago and both times it was like witnessing an earthquake. People came running out of their homes and ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. Hilarious, but very, very impressive.

That bird still has plenty of life in it, they should get rid of those eight thirsty P&W TF-33s and put the four P&W turbofan engines that power the Boeing C-17.

Hello dumb-f’s: the obvious answer here is that we have learned how to make non-stealth planes stealthed, and I am Anne Hathaway’s biggest fan. P.S. since I’m navy, I can say box with incredulity. Ha! Naval Aviation rules (until you land and F-22 with thrust vectoring on a carrier, or take it off with no wires necessary) — love the Raptor — or Waptor, as I like to say. Saw it at Fleet Week in The City in 2012. Holy smokes, an Air Farce plane that I like better than even the Navy’s F-14. Not possible, but true. XOXO Joel Leidholt

EF-22 Raptor-eye, please. You really don’t think you rule the skies, now — do you? I bet you also think the F-35’s blind spot is a blind spot. Just a little intramilitary rivalry (not ribaldry — promise Anne). It’s 3/4 of a mile, call the ball, Air Force, and we’ll wave you off every time. XOXO, LSO. P.S. no cheating with thrust vectoring, please!

On a more serious note. I love the B-52. Has ALWAYS been my favorite bomber. My dad’s first duty station was on Guam (think Andersen Air Force base) but as a buck ensign (I believe and I could be wrong as to which one it is — buck or bull; he was the lower of the two) who was the aid to Admiral Morrison, Jim Morrison’s dad — yes, THE Jim Morrison of the Doors. My dad and mom used to tell me that the B-52’s would leave in threes and sometimes two would return. In this case, one was obviously shot down. At that point this must have been LINEBACKER II, or whatever was run under Nixon. I can’t be sure because I was born on October 21, 1972. Anyway, to make a long story short, my dad had to drink against Admiral Morrison, and being wise beyond his years, let the Admiral win.

Looking Glass to Powers Booth…The Grand Tour is a go!

Hey Jerry, I don’t see too often people who state that they were B-52 crew chiefs. I was an ‘assistant’ crew chief on a B-52H at Castle AFB from 1976–1980. Back then I hated working on those pieces of junk, but those were the thoughts of a lazy 20 yr old. Being in Aerospace for the last 28 years or so, I now think of how cool it would be to work on one of those old birds again. But don’t think the boss would approve the relo.…the boss at home that is.

Flew the the C, D, E, and F model and a staff officer at at an H wing. Flew six arc light tours (what SAC called the six month sea tdy tours) flying 254 combat sorties from Andersen Guam and Utapao, Thailand. The normal bomb load for the D model which was the only model I flew bombing South and North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos was 84 500lb internally and 24 750 lb mounted on pylons on the wings. 108 bombs per sortie. in total Spent 22 years in Sac retiring in 89 flew the b52 with guys who had flown b47s , b36s ‚b29s, and b58s.

Nice upgrades to a proven War Horse ! The new electronic suit will turn the Buff into a new heavy lift drone, with a crew ( having less flight duties and more rest time ) to monitor systems and tactics. The B-52 is not a standalone work horse but a strike force team member which will require much of what many have observed. It will need theater entry support for radar suppression and counter measures while focusing on weapon strike delivery and exit. America should be proud of the B-52 as it was American Made to last; and it has. To paraphrase a commercial; there is no toe tag on “The B-52″. No sign that it has to retire for it’s mission ready, and quite capable of putting the hurt on enemies in age where high tech is not always best tech. I was aboard USS Ranger off Hawaii when a pilot came in smiling with photo of B-52 he just captured. I told him I wouldn’t smile so broadly, the B-52 you took picture of came out of Greenland to nail us ! Pound for pound the “Buff” has become a “Beast”.

Worked on 52s in the late 50s, probably still using the same airframes!

While the BONE is fast, it is limited to M1.25 due to engine inlet design and it definitely isn’t fast enough to evade missiles, or highly sophisticated, fast and long-legged interceptors like the MiG-31 Foxhound. It is more expensive to operate and maintain than the BUFF and has a lower availability rate. What’s more, unlike the B-52, the B-1 cannot carry and drop/launch nuclear weapons, because of treaty restrictions, hence why the BONE is not part of Air Force Global Strike Command, which is Strategic Air Command reborn.

I don’t get it… they can mothball the A10 Warthog but not B52s? The A10 is worth a darn sight more to defense and support than the B52 from a grunts perspective. Why can they not compromise and get rid of a few B52’s and keep a few A10s?

I just want the B-52 to retire befor I pass on, I am 64 and they are a few years younger, LOL

The funds were not available due to the F-22 and F-35 overruns. They took money from all the other airframes to cover the overruns


As far as costs go-what is all the BS about the B52 costing too much–this plane has been the backbone for the USAF and keeping our nation safe since the early 1950’s. The B52H, the B1B and the B2 all have a legitimate place in todays defense needs. This plane dollar per dollar has been a prudent investment, I thought by now they would have added the RB11’s for this giant, but for some reason it did not past the test ..A small trio of B52’s could wipe out the entire middle east if need be–one run and it is over. These planes also could have ended the Viet Nam war in 6 months had we had the proper leadership from Washington, we had all the political LBJ micro management crap to deal with–restricted bombing sites and too much dithering by the WH–Nixon unleashed these things and the wrath of God was placed on the scum bag north– like Iraq, we left Viet Nam and did not protect the country as we promised to do, and the North marched back in 6 months after we left–same thing In Iraq–all the lives lost and injured and Obama the coward cuts and runs for political purpose and his pro-Muslim vision…

It can fly so high as to not be seen ;esp when other aircraft close to the ground are there and movements ON the ground and in the water are goin on.Jdams from such a height can and would destroy Iraninan nuke silos.Send in a few B1s and cruise missles and the Buff can lay out 13 jdams on various targets at LEAST caving them in.GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEze.Now that wasnt too hard to figure out.Carry on!!

Try the annexation of Crimea on for size. Remember Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Obama and his cronies are certainly fiddlin’ wouldn’t you say? You left wing putz’s are all alike, blame it on Bush and Ol’ Rushbo. How about Pelosi, Reid, and Barack (the new Three Stooges). How’s the “hopey, changey thing” working out for you there Marshall?

Thank you for your dedicated service to our country!

I can still see the b-52 take off fully loaded to return from Da Nang. And at night we could just hear the rolling thunder ahead knowing someone was getting flatened.
I also hope the B-1 and B-2 does the same when needed.

Priceless comment

My brother was a SAC pilot out of Griffis AFB Rome NY .
They put a “G” model and ALCM out front to remind everyone
how it used to be. I met a crew chief under the aircraft , tears in his eyes.
” This was the best God damn aircraft ever built” he said to me.
Amen brother

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Arc Light is already “turned off” the B-52 display is scrapped.

At least you have reasonable analogy of the situation. Several comments reveal the ignorance of the authors.

Old retired B-52 Maintenance Troop

The “J series” means bombs like the JDAM. The B-52 is still the H model.

well theres no such thing as stelth. in a huge plane they be rebulit to like new and unlike a b1 we can lose one or to and new air frames are in the works depending on the need new b52 may be built like a new sr 71 has been ordered it be called a sr 72 6 times the speed of sound carbon body means no more fuel leaks

they wont be old when they get rebuilt and the la models were built in the late 70s b52 a fine aircraft

the b52 will get new wings and fan jet engines

AGM-86 ALCM missles, carried by B-52’s, CAN destroy hard targets as can the Block IV amen brother b52 can and will kick butt

your dam right old but made new beats a new mess like the b1

it works and we can supply figters for cover

they plan to do just that

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