The B-52 is the longest serving and most versatile of the United States Air Force’s combat aircraft. The Stratofortress entered active service in 1955 and is scheduled to continue as part of the air force’s inventory through 2040. The jet-powered bomber was a mainstay of America’s Cold War nuclear-deterrent strategy, providing air power that balanced the land and sea military forces. The massive plane also served as the launch platform for the experimental X-15 hypersonic rocket aircraft. Due to its versatility as an aircraft, the B-52 has seen combat service in all of America’s military conflicts since it came on active duty: Vietnam, the first and second Gulf wars, and the War in Afghanistan.
B-52 Stratofortress also covers every aspect of the aircraft’s development, manufacture, and modification. These technical details set the stage for its military service, starting with its role as a nuclear bomber in the Cold War even though only conventional weapons have been used during its combat duty. The airplane’s service in key campaigns in Vietnam is covered, followed by the quieter years after it. The B-52 returned to prominence in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, taking part in massive bombing campaigns in both conflicts. Finally, the book ends with the constant upgrades that will keep the B-52 an integral part of U.S. airpower for decades to come.