U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortres long-range jet-powered strategic bombers assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, ND, out of Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, UK, integrated with Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16s in support of Bomber Task Force Europe September 7, 2020. The strategic bomber missions provide theater familiarization for aircrew members and opportunities for U.S. integration with NATO allies and regional partners.
The B-52H had the same crew and structural changes as the B-52A. The most significant upgrade was the switch to TF33-P-3 turbofan engines which, despite the initial reliability problems (corrected by 1964 under the Hot Fan program), offered considerably better performance and fuel economy than the J57 turbojets. The ECM and avionics were updated, a new fire control system was fitted, and the rear defensive armament was changed from machine guns to a 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon (later removed in 1991–94).
The final 18 aircraft were manufactured with provision for the ADR-8 countermeasures rocket, which was later retrofitted to the remainder of the B-52G and B-52H fleet. A provision was made for four GAM-87 Skybolt ballistic missiles. The aircraft’s first flight occurred on 10 July 1960, and it entered service on 9 May 1961. This is the only variant still in use by the USAF. A total of 102 B-52Hs were built. The last production aircraft, B-52H AF Serial No. 61-0040, left the factory on 26 October 1962.