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How on God’s Green Earth Is the B-52 Still in Service?

April 20, 2016
click to enlarge photograph

click to enlarge photograph

Earlier this month, a contingent of US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers landed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. They’re there to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the push to eliminate the Islamic State throughout Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. The B-52s will drop GPS-guided smart-bombs and conventional 500-pound bombs on targets, and play other types of communication and monitoring roles.

The 160-foot-long bombers—built by Boeing and nicknamed BUFFs, for “Big Ugly Fat Fuckers”—have storied histories, including setting an around-the-world nonstop flight record, patrolling the Soviet Union’s border with nuclear warheads 24-hours-a-day for eight years straight, and making a memorable appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. For 60 years, the bomber’s been a constant presence in America’s arsenal, seeing action in Vietnam, the Serbian conflict, the Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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From → History

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