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On 23 November 1945 the USAF Air Materiel Command issued a desire for a new strategic bomber to replace the aging fleet of Convair B-36 Peacemakers. It needed enough range to allow it to carry out missions without relying on other air forces to base their aircraft. The aircraft was to have a crew of five plus turret gunners, Have a six-man relief crew and was required to cruise at 300mph at 34,000ft with a combat radius of 5,000 miles. The armament was to consist of an unspecified number of 20 mm cannon and 10,000 pounds of bombs. Boeing entered the Model 462, a straight-wing aircraft powered by six Wright T35 turboprops which won them the contract. The brief was updated several times during development and there were a few designs that were scrapped because it was clear that those designs were going to be almost obsolete before even entering service and not much of an improvement on the aging Peacemakers.

Boeing eventually created a new design that built upon the basic layout of another of Boeings designs, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet (A medium-range and medium-size jet bomber capable of flying at high subsonic speeds). The new design had 35° swept wings, eight engines paired in four under wing pods, and bicycle landing gear with wingtip outrigger wheels. This aircraft would fly for the very first time on the 15th April 1952. Thirteen of these aircraft known as the B52A were ordered by the USAF but the lack of range was still a issue for them.  As a result of the range issues only three of the thirteen B-52As ordered were built and those three were all returned to Boeing and used in their test program.  The contract was then updated to order the aircraft under new specifications that dealt with the initial problems. The final 10 being built became the first aircraft to enter active service and were completed as B-52Bs.  At the roll out ceremony on 18 March 1954, Air Force Chief of Staff, General Twining stated that “The long rifle was the great weapon of its day. ...Today this B-52 is the long rifle of the air age.” It would finally entered service in June 1955 and become the Stratofortress.

During the B52s service history it has been involved in many conflicts such as the Vietnam War where it was used for carpet bombing and was credited with several air to air MiG kills. It has also been used during the two Gulf Wars and was an important part of the Nuclear Deterrent during the Cold War.  B-52s performed airborne alert duties under code names such as Head Start, Chrome Dome Hard Head, Round Robin, and Giant Lance.  Bombers would loiter near points outside the Soviet Union to provide rapid first strike or retaliation capability in case of a nuclear attack.  The B52 dropped its first live hydrogen bomb over the Bikini Atoll On 21st May 1956, but thankfully never had to drop any nuclear munitions in anger and has only ever used conventional weapons to carry out its missions.

To say this aircraft is important is an understatement. There are not many aircraft that can boast a 55 year career without being replaced. This is without doubt due to its ability to be adapted to suit the more modern ways of combat including carrying more advanced weapons such as cruise missiles and utilising the new TF33-P-3 turbofan powerplant that provides better performance and improved fuel economy.

If any more proof of its legend is needed, this aircraft despite its 55 year career is not due to leave service with the USAF until 2040, 85 years after it first entered service.
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Military Stock is strictly photography, dealing with any military related content.

Photographs of military land, sea and air etc...content is the main focus of this group.

Photographs of Police, Fire Departments, EMS, SWAT, Customs, Border Patrol, etc...are also excepted.
Founded 7 Years ago
Jan 3, 2010


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Orphydian Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist

Hey! Not being certain yuo guys will get my affiliation request so I ahve to ask this here:


If you dont have anything against it I would like to affiliate our groups.


My newborn group is specialised on high detailed military illustrations and it will host only the finest deviations and most talented artists.


Maxtheboss2 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Can I be a member! 
kalika12 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Since I couldn't send a message to join in,I ask it here : can I please be a member?
Topaz172 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm looking for photoshop shapes or brushes for depicting military aircraft style 'fuel warnings' and 'stand clear' markings anyone seen anything like that?
TimGrey Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Respectfully requesting member status.
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