A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., approaches the refueling boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 931st Air Refueling Group, McConnell Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo)
Sixty-seven years after the U.S. Air Force received its last B-52 from Boeing, the flying branch finally has firmed up plans to fit the heavy bomber with new engines.
Air Force magazine in its January 2019 issue took a deep dive into the re-engining effort.
Lockheed Martin said earlier this month that the last of 52 upgraded C-5M Super Galaxy cargo planes had been delivered to the Air Force, finishing the nearly two-decade-long modernization of the service's largest plane.
The B-52 Stratofortress may be old enough to buy a senior ticket at the movies, but the legendary long-range strategic bomber is still pushing the envelope: On Dec. 12, Resolute Support commander Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch announced that a B-52 conducting bombing sorties out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, dropped the most precision munitions ever deployed from the airframe during a combat mission, an encouraging sign of what Air Force’s expensive modernization timeline holds for the tried-and-true airframe.
At his 1993 Confirmation as Director of the CIA, James Woolsey observed that “we have slain a large [Soviet] dragon, but we live now in a jungle with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes.” His predictions have borne out across the three theaters most pivotal to America’s interests. A resurgent Russia, metastasizing terror threat, and rising Iranian influence sow discontent throughout Europe and the greater Middle East. Despite a much-touted “pivot” to Asia under the Obama administration, the regional-security situation is bleak. Notwithstanding skyrocketing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, China is reorganizing its military for aggressive actions and, in the last four years alone, has constructed more ships than exist in the entire French Navy.