Synopses & Reviews
The eight-engine Boeing B-52 Stratofortress jet was the USA’s first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber. It began life as an intercontinental, high-altitude Cold War nuclear bomber. With each new variant the B-52 increased in range, power and capability, seeing active service in the Vietnam War, both Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, and over Afghanistan in 2001. Author Steve Davies recalls its combat history, gets up close to look under the skin of the B-52, and talks to the flight crews and maintainers of this legendary aircraft.
The first B-52A flew on 5 August 1954 and production versions of the B-52A were designated B-52B, with greater weight and larger engines. Some had photographic reconnaissance or electronic countermeasures equipment in their bomb-bays and were re-designated RB-52Bs. With each new variant the B-52 increased in range, power and capability. The B-52H made its first flight on 6 March 1961 and remains in service with the USAF in 2011, although a great many were broken up as part of the 1992 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A total of 744 B-52s were produced at Boeing’s plants at Seattle and Wichita between 1952 and 1962.
About the Author
Steve Davies is a freelance aviation journalist and photographer living in Cambridge, England. He is the author of F-15E Units in Combat 1991-2005 (Osprey), F-15C Units in Combat (Osprey), F-15C/E Units in OIF (Osprey), F-15E Strike Eagle: All Weather Attack Aircraft (Airlife), and F-15 Eagle & Strike Eagle: Combat Legends (Airlife). He is also a regular contributor to the aviation press including International Air Power Review, Combat Aircraft, Air Forces Monthly, Aircraft Illustrated and Air Pictorial.