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HEADLINE: A B-52H Stratofortress: How Many Bombs Can It Carry?

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is one of the last remaining heavy strategic bombers in operation today. For decades, it has served as the backbone of the United States Air Force’s strike capabilities. The eight-engine long-range strategic bomber is designed to operate long-range subsonic strike missions and can perform both conventional and nuclear strikes.

Because of its divergent bombing capabilities, the B-52 Stratofortress can be equipped with various bombs, with specific configurations depending on the exact mission. The B-52 has never performed a nuclear strike in war, but the long-range jet has operated dozens of successful conventional missions.

The B-52 Stratofortress has been built in many different variants over the years, with the current platform, the B-52H, remaining in operation with squadrons across the country. In this article, we will take a deeper look at the impressive capabilities of the United States Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress and examine exactly how many bombs and missiles it can carry for different kinds of missions.

Before examining the jet’s capabilities more closely, it is important to understand the B-52’s backstory and the number of purposes it was designed to serve. The B-52 Stratofortress was developed and entered service throughout the mid-1950s and 60s and, as a result, remains one of the most iconic military aircraft ever built.

Photo: United States Air Force

The jet was built in response to the Air Material Command’s calls for a new long-range strategic bomber that could perform missions deep into enemy territory without refueling at foreign bases. Boeing won the contract for the plane in 1946 with a plan to build a turboprop bomber that later evolved into a swept-wing jet. The aircraft initially entered service in 1952 with the B-52A but later upgraded the aircraft over the next decade to the B-52H model that remains in service today.

The aircraft’s capabilities extend far beyond traditional bombing runs. The plane can perform everything from reconnaissance missions to electronic warfare. The B-52 continues to be upgraded today to provide improved communications systems and advanced munitions capabilities, according to the United States Air Force. The bomber can even be involved in anti-ship and naval minelaying operations.

After fitting its Boeing B-52s with new Rolls-Royce engines, the USAF expects the plane to remain in service until 2050.

Today, the aircraft remains extremely effective and relevant even on the modern battlefield and serves as a symbol of the United States Air Force’s extensive strike capabilities. The B-52H offers the following performance specifications:

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