B-52 Stratofortress Taking Off Is the Stuff of Nightmares. For the Enemy

B-52 Stratofortress taking off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam 9 photos
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
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Because they are more numerous and flown much more than others, fighter aircraft tend to capture all the headlines and attention. But the American Air Force comprises much more than just fighter aircraft, and if you ask me, the most spectacular flying machines are the strategic bombers.
Rarely used nowadays for the purpose they were made, these behemoths have been designed to rain massive amounts of death from above on very distant targets. And in the U.S. arsenal, one of the most famous such aircraft is the B-52 Stratofortress.

Made by Boeing, the plane has been in service for about 70 years now, with over 700 of them being fielded since production began. A good chunk of them will continue to fly at least until the 2050s, as the U.S. Air Force (USAF) just announced in early May it tasked Collins Aerospace to come up with a new wheel and carbon brake design for these planes.

Also earlier this May, a massive exercise called Northern Edge 21 took place in Alaska. A great number of military hardware was part of the drills, including the brand new F-15EX Eagle II, and of course, the Stratofortress.

You can see one of the B-52s that were part of Northern Edge in the pic attached to this piece (click photo to enlarge). It is an airplane assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, seen here as it takes off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam during a Bomber Task Force deployment.

And it’s literally frightening if you’re on the wrong side of the bombs it carries, that is.

If you feel the airplane looks absolutely huge, that’s because it is. The thing has a wingspan of 185 feet (56 meters), which is about the height of the Tower of Pisa, and weighs, empty, 185,000 pounds (over 83 metric tons)—when loaded with bombs and whatnot, it can get to 265,000 pounds (120 metric tons).
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Editor's note: Gallery shows generic photos of the B-52 Stratofortress.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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