After 60 years of military service for the US Air Force, the B-52 bomber continues to be the military’s “go to” fighting machine for worldwide conflicts. In an effort to put more military pressure on ISIS, Pentagon officials have announced the popular flying machines are being sent back to fight in the Middle East for the first time since the Gulf War ended in 1991.
This amazing aircraft gained popularity in both Vietnam and the Gulf War due in large part to its capacity to carry and deliver a large amount and variety of bombs to the battlefield. Another strong feature provided by the B-52 is its ability to stay in the air over the battlefield for long periods of time, up to 10-12 hours at a time.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Chris Karns, spokesman for the Central Command, delivering bombs in the current battle against ISIS demands precision weaponry as ISIS fighters seldom gather in one area as a large population. The B-52s are now capable of carrying these precision long-range missiles (smart bombs), which can be fired without putting US military and local civilian lives at risk.
One of the reasons the B-52 is still considered to be such a valuable military asset is because of its reliability. Efforts to build a viable replacement over the past few decades have failed in comparison to what this aircraft offers.
The deployment of B-52s is being used to replace the B-1 fighters. It is also being used to further show the United States’ commitment to do all it can to eliminate ISIS without putting boots on the ground, which could lead to high casualties.
According to Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander of US Air Forces Central Command, “The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on Daesh (ISIS) and defend the region in any future contingency,”.