US Air Force Bomber Task Force Mission to Middle East
US Air Force Bomber Task Force Mission to Middle East

US Air Force Bomber Task Force B-52H Stratofortresses Mission to Middle East

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-52H “Stratofortresses” flew a multinational patrol mission across the Middle East today to deter aggression and reassure partners and allies of the U.S. military’s commitment to security in the region.  Temporary long-range bomber deployments into the region dates back to 2015. This was the fourth bomber deployment into the Middle East this year.

The U.S. Air Force routinely moves aircraft and personnel into, out of, and around the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to meet mission requirements, and to train with regional partners, underscoring the importance of strategic partnerships.  Multiple partner nations and U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft accompanied the U.S. bombers at different points during the flight, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.   

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US Air Force Bomber Task Force Mission to Middle East
Pilots from the 69th Bomb Squadron board a bus in preparation for a Bomber Task Force mission to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on March 6, 2021, at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. The U.S. military maintains a strong bomber force, capable of deploying combat power on short notice. Bomber Task Force missions provide opportunities to train and integrate with regional partners and is an important element of a broader deterrent strategy in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Josh W. Strickland)

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling.

The B-52H had the same crew and structural changes as the B-52. This is the only variant still in use. 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. 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.

US Air Force Bomber Task Force Mission to Middle East
Pilots from the 69th Bomb Squadron board B-52H Stratofortress bomber “Heavy Hauler” in preparation for a Bomber Task Force mission to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on March 6, 2021, at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. Bomber Task Force missions provide opportunities to train and integrate with regional partners and is an important element of a broader deterrent strategy in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Josh W. Strickland)
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