Officially, the United States is done with a significant military presence on the ground in hot places like Afghanistan or Iraq, but the wider area that contains these two countries, but also places like Egypt and Iran, needs constant supervision. And American supervises, mostly from high up in the sky.
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Matthew Plew
We know that because the military branch tasked with flying airplanes makes no secret of it and constantly releases images of its flying weapons in action there (by action read patrol and readiness exercises). One of the latest pics to be released is the one we have here, published last week by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and showing a massive B-52 Stratofortress flying over an undisclosed city, sandwiched between hot sand dunes and patches of green vegetation, during a “presence patrol mission with coalition and regional partners” at the beginning of June.
The Stratofortress in question is deployed with the 5th Bomb Wing, the host wing on Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. These guys only fly B-52s and have been doing so ever since 1959.
No, there’s no typo there, we did mean 1959. The Big Ugly Fat Fella, as it is colloquially known in some circles, was born in 1952, and the Air Force decided last year it would have it fly well into the middle of this century, making it the only military aircraft to turn 100 while on active duty.
Involved in pretty much all major conflicts that required massive bombing from above, the B-52 was an indispensable asset during Desert Storm, for instance, when it dropped 40 percent of all weapons used by coalition forces.
Since its introduction all those decades ago, Boeing made no less than 744 of them. Presently, just 58 are active and another 18 are in reserve, in a modernized configuration called B-52H.
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. Full profile
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