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"B-52 turns 50; still a combat leader

by Maj. Robert Thompson
8th Air Force Public Affairs

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFPN) - Considered by many to be the tried and true workhorse of the U.S. Air Force heavy bomber fleet, the B-52 Stratofortress turns 50 years old April 15.
Although originally designed to penetrate the Soviet Union and drop nuclear bombs, the B-52 has served in a variety of conventional bombing roles in Vietnam, Iraq, Kosovo and most recently Afghanistan.
The first prototype of the bomber flew April 15, 1952. The last B-52 was
delivered in October 1962.
.......A total of 744 B-52 bombers were built by Boeing in Wichita and Seattle. Today, 94 B-52H models remain in 8th Air Force, based at Barksdale Air Force Base and Minot AFB, N.D. One B-52 is used as a test aircraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, Calif.

In 2001, the B-52 had the highest mission-capable rate of any aircraft in Air Combat Command. "


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