B-52s Double Rate of Strikes Against ISIS

B-52s deployed to fight ISIS have almost doubled their rate of strikes over the past four weeks, as airmen have built up the infrastructure and tactics at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, necessary for the massive bomber. Stratofortresses began flying strikes as part of Operation Inherent Resolve on April 18, and have since flown more than 130 sorties, employing 630 precision weapons during more than 125 strikes, according to numbers Air Forces Central Command provided to Air Force Magazine. AFCENT Commander Lt. Gen. Charles Brown said during a May 26 briefing that B-52 operations started slow because there was not enough infrastructure at its deployed base, since the heavy bombers hadn’t been based in US Central Command for more than 26 years. Since late May, the B-52s have flown 77 of the 130 total sorties, using 351 precision weapons during 73 strikes, according to AFCENT. While the B-52 is known for its nuclear-capable, large payload, the bombers deployed against ISIS are specifically using laser-guided GBU-12 Paveway IIs, GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and GPS-guided GBU-31 bombs, according to AFCENT. “Because accuracy is critically important in this war, this capability in addition to the more than 12,000 ISR missions in support of OIR, allows the coalition to degrade Da’esh’s capability, deny them sanctuary, and [it] provides the air coalition a critical capability,” said AFCENT spokesman Maj. Omar Villarreal.