Still Going Strong

The B-52H fleet has surpassed 50 years of continuous service with the Air Force in conventional and nuclear strike roles. “Half a century ago, no one would think this aircraft would be where it is today,” said Maj. Chris Otis, 20th Bomb Squadron assistant operations director at Barksdale AFB, La. “It is a true testament to this airframe.” On May 9, 1961, Boeing delivered the first B-52H model to Strategic Air Command’s 379th Bombardment Wing based at Wurtsmith AFB, Mich. Dubbed “State of Michigan,” it was the first of 102 B-52Hs that the company delivered, more than 70 of which remain in service. The B-52H boasted improved range and performance, incorporating new Pratt and Whitney TF-33 engines. The Air Force continues to upgrade the B-52H today and intends to keep the aircraft in service out to around 2040. (Barksdale report by SrA. Allison Boehm)