Boeing B-52D Stratofortress (USA)

Boeing B-52D Stratorfortress military aircraft bomber at Castle Air Museum, Atwater and Merced in California's Central Valley.


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United States
Boeing Airplane Company
6 Crew
8 - Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-19W turbojet engines, each with 12,100 lbs. of thrust
606 mph
50,000+ ft.
7,856 mi.
Empty: 80,750 lbs.
Maximum: 450,000 lbs.
185 ft.
156 ft. 7 in.
48 ft. 4 in.
4 - .50 cal machine guns in tail
84 - 500 lbs. or 42 - 750 lbs. internally, plus 24 - 500 lb. or 750 lbs bombs externally
Nuclear: 2 - AGM-28 Hound Dog missiles and internal nuclear payload
The B-52H made its first flight March 6, 1961, and is still in service.

No aircraft is more associated with strategic bombing than the B-52 Stratofortress. It entered service in 1955 and stood as a vital part of America's nuclear deterrent until the end of the Cold War.

The B-52 was and is not strictly a nuclear bomber. It is quite effective as a conventional bomber as well. B-52s served in the skies over Vietnam, flying from bases in Thailand and Guam.

The B-52 participated several important bombing campaigns that took place during the Vietnam Conflict. They were code named Rolling Thunder, Arc Light, Linebacker 1, and Linebacker II. During these campaigns B-52s bombed strategic and tactical targets in both South and North Vietnam. B-52s again saw combat in Iraq in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The last production model, the B-52H, has recently been used in Afghanistan. It has more powerful engines and has been modernized in many other respects.

Boeing B-52D Stratorfortress military aircraft bomber at Castle Air Museum at night.

Throughout the 1950s, the B-52 chalked up numerous distance and speed records. It cut the round-the-world speed record in half, and in January 1962, it flew 12,500 miles nonstop from Japan to Spain without refueling. This flight alone broke 11 distance and speed records. The B-52s saw active duty in the Vietnam War, were used in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and over Afghanistan in 2001.

The B-52s of Castle Air Force Base were involved in Desert Storm and flew bombing missions against the Republican Guard using the carpet bombing technique. Their contribution helped bring the conflict to a quick conclusion.

The aircraft on display at Castle Air Museum is a "D" model of the Stratofortress which served on active duty from 1957 until 1982. It served with the Strategic Air Command for its entire career and saw combat in the skies over Vietnam. For a time, it was stationed at U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand and at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam. It last served with the 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle Air Force Base, Atwater, California. Located under the wing of the aircraft on display is one AGM-28 Hound Dog missile.