Parked’n’Proud B-52 Shows All the Confidence of Something That Can Tear Cities Apart

70,000 pounds (31,500 kg). That’s how much cargo the current incarnation of the Stratofortress, the B-52H, can carry with it. And by payload, we mean bombs, of course, as this thing is one of three members of America’s Bomber Trifecta, which also includes the B-2 Spirit and the B-1B Lancer.
B-52 Stratofortress at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota 11 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Michael Richmond
B-52 Stratofortress at the Minot Air Force Base in North DakotaB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 Stratofortress after refueling op
It’s impossible to determine how much damage a B-52 on a mission can inflict, because the effects of it passing over enemy targets depend heavily on the types of weapons used.

According to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the plane can be loaded with “the widest array of weapons” of any aircraft currently fielded, meaning conventional “gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision-guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions.” If need be, it can also be loaded with nuclear ordnance, making it a true city buster in case it ever comes to that.

Thanks to its virtually unlimited range (the USAF says the range is limited “only by aircrew endurance”), and given a proper escort and protection, the B-52 is probably unbeatable, and could effectively wipe out any target on this planet. And the damn thing seems to know this, at least in this most-recently released pic of it.

Fittingly titled by the USAF “Sitting pretty,” the pic shows a B-52H Stratofortress sitting on the flightline at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota at the beginning of July. It presumably wasn't going anywhere, given the engine covers spread over each of the eight Pratt & Whitney turbofans, but that isn’t stopping it from looking particularly impressive, and seemingly aware of its capabilities.

The USAF presently has around 70 of these in its arsenal. Born in 1952, the bomber recently got its life extended well into the 2050, and that will add another item to the list of things it can be proud of: it will become the first and only military aircraft to turn 100 while on active duty.
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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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