About 30 volunteers from the 412th Maintenance Group, the 95th Civil Engineering Division, and the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB, Calif., recently lifted an 185,000-pound vintage bomber off its wheels and placed it on steel stands in an effort to prevent the aircraft’s massive weight from causing it permanent damage. The old NB-52B bomber, decorated with colorful cartoons and humorous verbiage, was the eighth B-52 to come off the assembly line. It also was one of two bombers used for launching flight research vehicles, according to a release. Both aircraft were eventually pulled out of service and modified for the X-15 program, said George Welsh, AFFTC Museum curator. NASA recorded the 106 X-15 flights credited to the bomber and numerous other test vehicles, including its final launch of the hypersonic X-43, along the right side of the fuselage. “Its history runs from nose to tail,” an AFTCM specialist said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.