(Tech Sgt. Robert Horstman/US Air Force) This photo shows the entire arsenal of a B-52 Stratofortress.
The standard loadout for this plane includes eight AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, four AGM-142 Raptor missiles, 51 500-pound bombs, 30 1,000-pound bombs, 20 AGM-86C conventional air-launched cruise missiles (CALCM), 12 joint stand-off weapons (JSOW), 12 joint direct-attack munitions (JDAM), and 16 wind-corrected munitions dispensers (WCMD), according to Airforce-technology.com.
In 1955, when the first Boeing B-52 Stratofortress became operational, nobody would have imagined that the plane could remain in service for nearly 100 years. Today that's exactly what the US Air Force has in mind for this aircraft.
About 750 of the bombers were produced. Though the latest model of the plane came off the assembly line in 1962, the Air Force intends to keep flying these planes until 2040. The B-52 is a multipurpose heavy lifter of the skies that has carried drones, space-shuttle components, cruise missiles, and even nuclear bombs.
In the '60s, the B-52 was known for traveling far and fast on a single fuel load. At one point, it cut the 'round-the-world speed record in half. In January 1962, the B-52 flew from Japan to Spain, a flight that broke 11 speed and distance records.
Today most B-52s have been gutted and upgraded, with pretty much only the original airframe remaining unchanged. The monstrous plane can carry a payload of up to 70,000 pounds, including up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.
(USAF via Wikimedia Commons)
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