One such rare occurrence is that of a B-52 Stratofortress pulling up below a KC-135 Stratotanker, and that’s exactly what we have here. The image was snapped by a Staff Sergeant back in February, but only recently made public by the military branch.
The massive bomber, deployed with the 96th Expeditionary Squadron, was at the time moving out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, on a Bomber Task Force mission, when it had to refuel from the flying gas station flying in the area.
Details of its mission were not disclosed, other than “Bomber Task Force deployments support National Defense Strategy objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability through the speed, flexibility, and readiness of strategic bombers.”
The B-52 is described as a long-range bomber, which can reach targets located as far as 8,800 miles (14,162 km) away, but it may happen that it needs to stay in the air for longer. That’s probably not what we have here, but for its crew to be able to perform long missions when they need to, practicing aerial refueling is mandatory.