Originally introduced in 1955, the Boeing B-52 has stood the test of time as one of the most valuable aircraft for the United States military. The massive bomber, used by the Air Force and by NASA, can haul some 70,000lbs of gear across more than 8,000 miles without stopping.
A video posted to YouTube shows a handful of these powerful beasts in action during various training exercises conducted around the world. The aircraft demonstrate their immense capabilities and further prove just how vital they are and why they continue to grace the skies more than half a century later.
Check them out in action in the video below:
The video’s description sums up the clips perfectly:
“This is probably the greatest compilation of Boeing B-52 Stratofortress takeoff and landing specific footage ever assembled. From all around the world; in all sorts of conditions; and from absolutely all angles!”
In the video, the massive aircraft can be seen waking from their slumber in a smokey startup procedure. The beasts slowly crawl along the runway as they prepare for takeoff. It takes a minimum of five crewmen – consisting of a pilot, copilot, weapons systems officer, navigator, and warfare officer – to fly the aircraft. As they crawl down the runway, the piercing whine of eight different engines affixed to the aircraft’s wings grows louder and louder.
One after the other, the aircraft take to the skies as if they were light as a feather. In fact, even an empty B-52 tips the scales at an astounding 185,000lbs.
When it comes to its armament, the B-52 bomber is capable of deploying the widest array of weapons of any U.S. aircraft. The massive plane packs gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision-guided missiles, and joint direct attack munitions during a conventional mission.
The aircraft, 26 feet wider than it is long, can speed through the air at more than 600 mph and 50,000 feet above the ground.
As of 2015, there were currently 58 B-52s in active duty with 18 waiting in reserve. Following successful upgrades in 2013 and 2015, the fleet of B-52s is expected to remain ins service until at least 2050.