The American plane is, of course, the largest one, the mother goose leading its goslings to their destination. It’s the B-52 Stratofortress, the seven-decade-old strategic bomber we’ve featured several times before here in our Photo of the Day section. Accompanying it out of Moron Air Base in Spain are five F-18 Hornets deployed with the Spanish military.
Although strategic bombers usually fly accompanied by fighter aircraft, they do so at such high altitudes most of us are generally oblivious to such an occurrence. So it’s the Spanish who are to blame for taking this pic, and we can only be grateful they did.
The B-52 Stratofortress is not such a common plane in the sky, with just about 700 of them made since production started all those decades ago. The massive machine, described by its present maker, Boeing, as the most combat-capable bomber in the U.S. inventory, can carry both nuclear and conventional bombs. When fully loaded, it can weigh as much as 488,000 lbs (219,600 kg), which is the maximum takeoff weight.
The nimble F-18 Hornets, on the other hand, are much more common in the skies, with close to 1,500 of them made since the early 1980s. They are multi-role combat jets, capable of both air-to-air combat and ground strike missions.