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  1. #1
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    Military question: Why are B52 Bombers still effective?

    Aren't they giant sitting ducks up there? Aren't they big and slow?

    I can understand why they get the job done in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq when those counties have little to no radar systems and fighter planes..

    But how would it fare against North Korea? The reason I ask is that the US have recently moved many B52 into the pacific region to send a message to the north Koreans...but really, would they be a joke to shoot down?
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    they're massive payload they carry. quanity vs. quality

    the not surgical like a sniper,
    more like a scatter gun, point i the general direction.


    when you have control of the skies. you need not worry about enemy fighters & triple A fire.
    all bomber runs have fighter F-15/16 escorts.
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    Re: Military question: Why are B52 Bombers still effective?

    Originally posted by trainevenharder
    Aren't they giant sitting ducks up there? Aren't they big and slow?

    I can understand why they get the job done in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq when those counties have little to no radar systems and fighter planes..

    But how would it fare against North Korea? The reason I ask is that the US have recently moved many B52 into the pacific region to send a message to the north Koreans...but really, would they be a joke to shoot down?
    I think the move was purely for show. The North is showing it's muscle so we're calling but not upping the antie.
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    All radar is taken out first so missiles are not as effective. Then the B52's fly to high for AA guns to hit them. The B52's fly with fighter escort when then can so it makes it very hard to get at them. In the end most just try to get out of the way when they role in.
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    The computer systems have improved dramatically in the B-52's. First of all, they fly too far up to shoot down like the unmanned spy-planes in the Middle East. Second, they have stealth technology (somewhat) and as of right now, carry smart bombs which have an above 85% rate.

    Fighting in the desert is different than fighting in North Korea, where the weather and geography varies greatly. A land invasion won't be the smartest choice, it could be Vietnam all over again. However, the US is going to play smart. The US, against NK, will use naval and aviation superiority. (i.e.: cut off supplies with a blockade, attack from ships and with planes).
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    The B-52's are not a first strike aircraft. There roll is to go in after all the air defense instillations have been wiped out. Once the enemy has lost it's ability to threaten your aircraft they are at your mercy. That is where the B-52 shines, it carries a huge payload of conventional bombs which can be used to pound enemy forces into submission. The troops in Iraq feared the B-52 more then any other aspect of the American assult do to it's unrelenting nature it plays as much a psychological role as a military one. I mean can you imagine sitting in a trench or bunker being pounded day and night with heavy munition's, not being able to sleep or eat or even rest? By the time the enemy troops arrive your so exhausted and demoralized your read to surrender.
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    Message Board King ROCK CRUSHER's Avatar
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    Martial Artist i don't mean to be anal but,

    the B-52's don't carry any laser guided "smart bombs", they do have the capability to carry cruise missles. they aren't stealthy by any means.

    unmanned spy planes carry no weapons. it would have to have some type of air-to-air missile (sidewinder/AIM/sparrow/phoenix) to down an aircraft.
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    Velvet Hammer DarkFalcon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ROCK CRUSHER


    unmanned spy planes carry no weapons. it would have to have some type of air-to-air missile (sidewinder/AIM/sparrow/phoenix) to down an aircraft.
    Actually the Predator spy plane carries the Hellfire missile which is a very effective and accurate weapon. It gives the military the option of locating and destroying targets without having to wait for air support.
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    Message Board King ROCK CRUSHER's Avatar
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    yes! but the hellfire is really a air-to-surface tank busting sum-uv-a-bitch for stationary/slow moving targets
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    Originally posted by ROCK CRUSHER
    yes! but the hellfire is really a air-to-surface tank busting sum-uv-a-bitch for stationary/slow moving targets
    Yes your right, but you said it carried no weapons. Not sure where anyone said spy planes were used in air to air combat. Unmaned fighters are in developement but they won't be used officially for a few years.
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    Originally posted by ROCK CRUSHER
    Martial Artist i don't mean to be anal but,

    the B-52's don't carry any laser guided "smart bombs", they do have the capability to carry cruise missles. they aren't stealthy by any means.

    unmanned spy planes carry no weapons. it would have to have some type of air-to-air missile (sidewinder/AIM/sparrow/phoenix) to down an aircraft.
    GBU-10s
    The B-52H BUFF [Big Ugly Fat Fellow] is the primary nuclear roled bomber in the USAF inventory. It provides the only Air Launch Cruise Missile carriage in the USAF. The B-52H also provides theater CINCs with a long range strike capability. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
    The aircraft's flexibility was evident during the Vietnam War and, again, in Operation Desert Storm. B-52s struck wide-area troop concentrations, fixed installations and bunkers, and decimated the morale of Iraq's Republican Guard. The Gulf War involved the longest strike mission in the history of aerial warfare when B-52s took off from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., launched conventional air launched cruise missiles and returned to Barksdale -- a 35-hour, non-stop combat mission.

    A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, delivered in October 1962. Only the H model is still in the Air Force inventory and all are assigned to Air Combat Command. The first of 102 B-52H's was delivered to Strategic Air Command in May 1961. The H model can carry up to 20 air launched cruise missiles. In addition, it can carry the conventional cruise missile which was launched from B-52G models during Desert Storm.

    Features

    In a conventional conflict, the B-52H can perform air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations. During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometers) of ocean surface.

    Starting in 1989, an on-going modification incorporates the global positioning system, heavy stores adaptor beams for carrying 2,000 pound munitions and additional smart weapons capability. All aircraft are being modified to carry the AGM-142 Raptor missile and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.

    The B-52H was designed for nuclear standoff, but it now has the conventional warfare mission role with the retirement of the B-52Gs. The B-52 can carry different kinds of external pylons under its wings.

    The AGM-28 pylon can carry lighter weapons like the MK-82 and can carry 12 weapons on each pylon, for a total of 24 external weapons. With the carriage of 27 internal weapons, the total is 51.

    Heavy Stores Adaptor Beam [HSAB] external pylon can carry heavier weapons rated up to 2000 lbs. However, each HSAB can carry only 9 weapons which decreases the total carry to 45 (18 external).

    A third type pylon is used for carrying ALCMs/CALCMs/ACMs.

    So the B-52 can carry a maximum of either 51 or 45 munitions, depending on which pylon is mounted under the wings. However, the AGM-28 pylon is no longer used, so the B-52 currently carries on HSABs, limiting the external load to 18 bombs, or a total of 45 bombs.

    The use of aerial refueling gives the B-52 a range limited only by crew endurance. It has an unrefueled combat range in excess of 8,800 miles (14,080 kilometers).

    All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment the targeting, battle assessment, flight safety and terrain-avoidance system, thus further improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability.

    Pilots wear night vision goggles (NVGs) to enhance their night visual, low-level terrain-following operations. Night vision goggles provide greater safety during night operations by increasing the pilot's ability to visually clear terrain and avoid enemy radar.

    Current B-52H crew size is five. Pilot and co-pilot are side by side on the upper flight deck, along with the electronic warfare officer (EWO), seated behind the pilot facing aft.

    Side by side on the lower flight deck are the radar navigator, responsible for weapons delivery, and the navigator, responsible for guiding the aircraft from point A to point B. Because the H model was not originally designated for conventional ordnance delivery, weapons delivery was assigned to the radar navigator and the "bombardier/navigator" crew station designation of the earlier B-52 series was not used.)

    The controls and displays for aircraft systems are distributed among the crew stations on the basis of responsibilities. The Air Forces objective is to employ the latest navigation and communication technology to reduce the crew size to four people, by combining the radar navigator and navigator functions into one position.

    The navigator stations use CRT displays and 386x-type processors. Interface to avionics architecture is based on the Mil-Std-1553B data bus specification.
    Air-to-ground missiles 20 ALCM (Nuclear warhead)
    12 SRAM (Nuclear warhead)
    12 ACM (Nuclear warhead)
    8 AGM-84 Harpoon
    20 AGM-86C CALCM
    8 AGM-142 Raptor
    18 AGM-154 JSOW
    12 AGM-158 JASSSM
    Bombs 2 B-53 (Nuclear)
    8 B-61 (Nuclear)
    8 B-83 (Nuclear)
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    51 CBU-58
    51 CBU-71
    30 CBU-87
    30 CBU-89
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    51 MK-36
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    12 MK-52
    8 MK-55
    8 MK-56
    51 MK-59
    8 MK-60
    51 MK-62
    8 MK-64
    8 MK-65
    51 MK-82
    18 MK-84
    18 JDAM
    30 WCMD
    Systems ALQ-117
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    Current Upgrade Activities
    The current service life of the aircraft extends to 2040. The B-52 is undergoing a Conventional Enhancement Modification which allows it to carry MIL-STD 1760 weapons. The Advanced Weapons Integration (AWI) program supports the conventional enhancement of the B-52 through the addition of the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW), and the Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM). Limited Initial Operational Capability for the WCMD was achieved on the B-52 in December 1998, and LIOC for JDAM was achieved on the B-52 in December 1998. The Air Force Mission Support System supports the Air Force movement of all mission planning to a common system. GPS TACAN Emulation provides support to the Congressionally-directed GPS-2000. Electronic Countermeasures Improvement supports a DESERT STORM identified deficiency. The B-61 Mod 11 program was added at the direction of the Nuclear Posture Review and Presidential Decision Directive-30.

    The AGM-142 (or Have Nap as it is commonly called) and Harpoon missile systems were first installed and made operational on the B-52Gs in the mid-1980s. When the G models were retired, these capabilities were moved to the B-52H model. While Air Combat Command (ACC) was happy to retain these operational capabilities, they were limited in their ability to employ either Have Nap or Harpoon by the fact that only a limited number of B-52Hs could employ the missiles. In the early 1990s the B-52 Conventional Enhancement Modification (CEM) Integrated Product Team (IPT) began programs to make it possible for any B-52H to carry and launch either missile. At about the same time, the AGM-142 SPO began a second phase of their producibility enhancement program, PEPII for short, to upgrade the AGM-142 missiles to both enhance supportability and lower the missiles cost. As of 31 December 97 these programs provided ACC with the expanded and more flexible mission capability they desired.

    Upgrades

    The B-61 Mod 11 program involves development and testing of a modified nuclear weapon on B-52 operational aircraft. Replacement of a strategic weapon was recommended by the Nuclear Posture Review and directed by Presidential Decision Review-30. Congress was notified during the second quarter of FY 1995, of the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy intent to modify an existing weapon to provide a replacement option. Modifications (made by the Department of Energy) to the B-61 Mod 7 strategic bomb accomplish the mission requirements of the replaced weapon. Modification of an existing weapon is less expensive than the cost to develop a new weapon from "scratch." Flight testing by the 419th FLTS, Edwards AFB, CA is required to certify the modified weapon mass and physic properties are the same as the Mod 7 device. The Air Force asked and received permission from Congress to reprogram the $4.5M FY 96 Congressional plus-up for AGM-130 integration on the B-52, into the B-61 Mod 11 Flight Test program. This program was completed in FY 97.

    A key element to preserving the combat capability of the BUFF is the continued effort to improve the reliability, maintainability, and supportability (RM&S) for the B-52s in the near future. The three major defensive ECM systems on the aircraft, the AN/ALQ-172, AN/ALQ-155, and AN/ALR-20, all needed upgrades or replacement due to performance, reliability, and/or supportability problems. In addition, a myriad of other defensive systems on the BUFFs required enhancements to keep the B-52 ECM suite viable throughout the lifetime of the aircraft. In FY97, the B-52 fleet received only six percent of the overall bomber budget which further complicated efforts to maintain these aging ECM systems.

    Between October 1996 and March 1997, the B-52 ECM suite became the leading cause of the Air Combat Command's B-52 bomber wings not meeting mission capable (MC) rate standards for the B-52H fleet. The aircraft's three major defensive systems all needed upgrades or replacement due to performance, reliability, and supportability issues. During these six months, these three systems combined to produce a six month mission incapable (MICAP) driver rate for the B-52 fleet of more than 43,000 hours. In addition, B-52 ECM employees discovered that because of this, readiness spares packages (RSPs) kits were depleted of several key system line replaceable units (LRUs). This resulted in a significant impact to the operational readiness of the entire B-52H fleet.

    In March 1997, HQ ACC B-52 logistics officials (HQ ACC/LGF52), Oklahoma City ALC B-52 leadership (OC-ALC/LHL), and managers from the Center's LNR division implemented an ECM Support Improvement Plan (SIP) to improve the B-52H ECM MICAP rate and RSP fill rates to acceptable levels. As a result, they eliminated MICAPs by April 1997 and filled RSP kits to the Independent Kit Level by May 1997.

    The ALQ-172 ECM electronic countermeasures suite is being improved to cover a requirement identified during DESERT STORM. The improvement provides for an increased memory capability to handle advanced threats as well as correcting a coverage capability problem. The project adds a third ALQ-172 to the ECM suite and develops the new display required by the addition of the third system. The B-52's electronic countermeasures suite is capable of protecting itself against a full range of air defense threat systems by using a combination of electronic detection, jamming and infrared countermeasures. The B-52 can also detect and counter missiles engaging the aircraft from the rear. These systems are undergoing continuous improvement in order to enable them to continue to counter emerging threat systems.

    Situational Awareness is the highest priority modification needed for the B-52. The Electronic Countermeasure Improvement is a Reliability and Maintainability initiative that upgrades two low Mean Time Between Failure components, and replaces two Control and Display Units (CDU) with one CDU. The ECM system uses 1960s-era technology and will likely be unsupportable by FY02.

    Link-16 - A line-of-sight datalink that uses structured message formats to provide the capability for an organized network of users to transfer in real-time/near real-time, digitized tactical information between tactical data systems used to increase survivability and develop a real-time picture of the battlespace.
    And whoever said laser-guided? These new bombs are going to be GPS guided, and the cost of all smart bombs have decreased significantly over the last few years, making them even more affordable than conventional bombs. Currently though, B-52's carry many more dumb bombs.
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    Effectiveness of the B-52 Stratofortress

    During the Afghanistan war, ten B-52s dropped a third of the bomb tonnage. That's a remarkable record for a fifty-year-old aircraft design.

    The B-52 carried that much of the load because it's the most cost-effective heavy bomber we have. The B-52 has an accident rate of 1.29 per 100,000 flying hours. The B-1s rate is 3.48. The B-2 has a rate of zero, but it is flown far less because of the elaborate (and expensive) maintenance this aircraft requires. Compared to the supersonic B-1 and high-tech B-2, the B-52 is a flying truck. Thus the B-52, despite its age, was the cheapest, safest and most reliable way to deliver smart bombs over Afghanistan.

    With a max takeoff weight of 240-250 tons, the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow) is basically a large aircraft designed to carry bombs. Lacking the supersonic speed of the B-1, or the stealth and automation of the B-2, the B-52 can carry up to 150 tons of fuel, and normally carries 12-20 tons of bombs (max load of 35 tons). What made the B-52 so useful in the Afghanistan war is its ability to stay in the air for so long. The B-52s flying out of the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia to Afghanistan typically stayed in the air for some 16 hours. Since it can refuel in the air, the B-52 can fly anywhere in the world with a load of bombs or missiles.

    Over Afghanistan, carrying a dozen 2000-pound JDAM (GPS-guided bombs), a B-52 could circle a combat area for hours, waiting for the special forces guys or Air Force controllers on the ground to send them the coordinates of a target. The JDAM landed (over 90 percent of the time) within 50 feet of the location the ground troopers wanted it. Better yet, most of the bombs arrived within ten minutes of the request.

    Surviving enemy troops admitted that they were demoralized once they realized how this was working. At that point, the enemy fighters knew that if they saw Americans looking at them with binoculars (that included a laser range finder, to provide the B-52 with precise location data for the target), they had ten minutes to run away, or die. And often the enemy troops didn't know they were being set up for a JDAM. No place was safe from the one ton JDAMs. If you ran into a cave, it had better have another exit, because the JDAM would permanently close the one you just entered.

    The B-52 can carry a large variety of weapons, including eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 20 cruise missiles. The B-52 has seen a lot of action in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, in the Balkans and over Afghanistan. The B-52 prototype first flew in 1952. The last one built, a B-52H, was in late 1962.

    It's a large aircraft, with a wingspan of 185 feet, a length of 159 feet and a height of 17.5 feet (to the top of the fuselage, 40.6 feet to the top of the tail). Empty weight is 86 tons. It has a crew of five (pilot, copilot, navigator, electronics warfare officer and radar navigator). There used to be a gunner for a rear-firing 20mm cannon, but this was eliminated in the 1990s. Automation can reduce this even more. The 1970s era B-1 has a crew of four, and the 1980s era B-2 has a crew of two. The only B-52s flying are the B-52H model, all built in the early 1960s.

    A true replacement for the B-52 was never built because no one foresaw the development of such accurate smart bombs, and the ability of the U. S. Air Force to destroy most anti-aircraft defenses. Indeed, even when faced with heavy defenses, the B-52 was able to fight its way through. During the twelve days of Linebacker II raids against North Vietnam in 1972, 15 B-52s were shot down by Soviet-built SAM-2 missiles. The 150 B-52s stationed in Guam flew 729 missions, for a loss rate of two percent. But because of the number of sorties flown, ten percent of the B-52s involved were brought down. Of the 92 airmen in the downed aircraft, 33 died.

    After Vietnam, the B-52s received several generations of new electronic warfare equipment, learning much from the experience during Linebacker II. But there never was enough money to keep the B-52 completely up to date, especially with the equipment needed to use some of the newer bombs. Some B-52s got their JDAM equipment just before the war in Afghanistan. And this was mainly because the upgrade was cheap - wiring from the weapons officer's station to the bombs so GPS location data could be changed in flight. The 50-year-old B-52 became the weapon of choice over Afghanistan, able to hang around for hours and drop one-ton JDAM bombs on demand. The B-52 was upgraded to use JDAM before the B-1B because the B-52 is more reliable.

    Currently, the Air Force has the capacity to shut down the high-altitude missiles systems of just about anyone, and then bring the B-52s in at high altitude to avoid low-altitude anti-aircraft guns and mobile antiaircraft missile systems. The B-1 and B-2 were built to deal with even more intense antiaircraft defenses. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, no one else has such a system. Perhaps, in the future, a nation like China may build another such formidable antiaircraft defense system. For the moment, because of the lack of first rate air defenses to stop it, the B-52 can still hack it in the combat zone.
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    here are some statistics:

    engines: eight pratt & whitney tf33-p-3 turofans with each 75,65 kn trustpower

    max speed 958 km/h at 3100 m.

    flight ceiling 16.765 m.

    radius 16 000 km

    weapons: m61a1 20 mm tailgun 81.454 kg of bombs 20 agm-86 or agm-129 cruisemissels or 4 to 6 nucleur bombs

    some facts

    it can reach any point in the earth in 18 houres

    in 1959 3 b-52's flew non-stop around the world in less then 50 houres

    i think with the armor plating and mass capacity they are still a great bomber, plus they are less expensive then a f-177 or b-2 and carry more
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    Crew: 8 (4 pilots and 4 crew technicians)
    Typical Training Load: 50 bombs, 20 missiles, and 2 smart bombs
    In battle, the B-52 carries much more than 50 bombs, 20 missiles, and 2 smart bombs. It also carries enough fuel to go from one continent to the other. The military has recently upped funding for improvements... Which include stealth features. And no, do some studying first. It's not supposed to be a stealth fighter like the B-2, but the military has done research on reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures for the B-52.
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    Originally posted by ROCK CRUSHER
    Martial Artist i don't mean to be anal but,

    the B-52's don't carry any laser guided "smart bombs", they do have the capability to carry cruise missles. they aren't stealthy by any means.

    unmanned spy planes carry no weapons. it would have to have some type of air-to-air missile (sidewinder/AIM/sparrow/phoenix) to down an aircraft.
    And no, I never said unmanned spy planes carried no weapons. Read the post again, I said that unlike unmanned spy planes, they aren't easy targets for infantry on the ground. In Afghanistan, there were two unmanned spy planes lost due to ground fire.
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    Originally posted by MartialArtist
    And no, I never said unmanned spy planes carried no weapons. Read the post again, I said that unlike unmanned spy planes, they aren't easy targets for infantry on the ground. In Afghanistan, there were two unmanned spy planes lost due to ground fire.
    yeah i doubt any bullet would even come close to hitting a b-52 at bombing altitude and speed, and if by any luck it does get there (what i think is imposible) you won't get to the armored plating
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    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/.../b-52.htm#more - B-52's and Satellite-Guided Bombs
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    Damn! M.A. sounds like you know more about B-52 than my uncle....and he used to fly the sun-of-a-bitches.

    pops was a fighter pilot.

    got another uncle who flew Med Vac hughies in Nam. same crew that was portrayed the Mel Gibson movie "for the boys" (i think?)
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    Thumbs up

    Bump for MA for the extensive info and specs on B-52's.


    After reading that, i'd say those planes still pose a threat to any enemy military.
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    Thumbs up

    Damn I know a ton about B-52's but MA already answered it all.
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    I haven't seen anything about any country having SAMs (surface to air missles) that can get targets at 30,000 ft, the attack altitude of the B-52. Course maybe by the time the payload hits the plane is unloaded and long gone.
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    Originally posted by Jcfreak_02
    I haven't seen anything about any country having SAMs (surface to air missles) that can get targets at 30,000 ft, the attack altitude of the B-52. Course maybe by the time the payload hits the plane is unloaded and long gone.
    Alot of countrys do why do you think U2's kept getting shot down. Those planes were pure **** I dont even know why we still use them but retired the SR-71's.
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    SR-71 where to expensive to fly
    $1,000,000's per hour

    GPS systems have all but replaced them.

    they are rentable to allied countries.

    "ahhhh say dawg how much them '71's go for? them mutha ****as is fresh"
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    Originally posted by ROCK CRUSHER
    SR-71 where to expensive to fly
    $1,000,000's per hour
    I highly doubt there that much an hour LOL. I just dont get why we still use the ****ty U2 but not the SR-71. I guess maybe the CIA has somethign to do with it since they are their planes. I know we use alot of satelites but most of them cant even see through clouds. Most also cant stay zoomed in on one area too long either.
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    i looked it up......$250,000 per hour.
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    hehe, here in Canada we still got WW2 era seaking helicopters. Not only are they falling apart, but every hour they're used requires 30 hours of maintenance
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