Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress

  • Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress
  • Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress
  • Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress
  • Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress
  • Boeing B-52 G-100-BW Stratofortress

B-52G Stratofortress

For more than 60 years, the B-52 has been a crucial asset of the US Air Force’s strategic bomber force. Developed by Boeing, the B-52 is a heavy bomber with an unlimited range thanks to aerial refueling. It can carry payloads weighing up to 20,000 pounds and an array of weapons to include cluster bombs, precision guided missiles, and nuclear weapons. The first B-52 flew in 1954 and the B model entered service in 1955. Since its adoption into the US Air Force, the Stratofortress has performed a variety of combat and non-combat roles in American operations ranging from the Vietnam War to modern conflicts.

Stratofortress at the Ready

In 1971, Hill Air Force Base became one of six bases hosting new alert facilities for the B-52 bomber force. The B-52s at these alert facilities stood ready 24/7 to respond to Cold War threats. Four B-52s were assigned to Hill’s 456th Bombardment Wing and remained at the installation’s alert facility from 1971 until 1975. Today, Hill maintains the B-52’s landing gear system.

Bearin’ Arms

The airframe on display is a B-52G. Boeing built 193 B-52Gs for the Air Force, more than any other version. Nicknamed Bearin’ Arms, it entered the US Air Force fleet in 1959. Bearin’ Arms served at bases across the globe, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and California. After its lengthy and well- traveled career, it became available for the US Air Force Museum Program in 1991. That same year, it flew from Castle Air Force Base, California, to Hill Air Force Base for its final flight.

This aircraft is on loan from the U.S. Air Force Heritage Program.

Boeing B-52G-100-BW Stratofortress Blueprint

Boeing B-52G-100-BW Stratofortress

Serial Number: 58-0191

Manufacturer: Boeing

Primary Function: Heavy Bomber

Crew: Six (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator, electronic warfare officer, and aerial gunner)

Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-43WB turbojets, 13,750 pounds thrust each with water injection

Wingspan: 185 ft

Length: 160 ft 10.9 in

Height: 40 ft 8 in

Weight: 168,445 lbs (empty); 488,000 lbs (maximum takeoff weight)

Speed: 523 mph (cruising); 650 mph (maximum)

Range: 7,300 miles

Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft

Armament: Four 50 caliber machine guns

Payload: More than 20,000 lbs mixed ordnance

Cost: $30,000,000 (approximate)

Years of Service: 1955 – present

The B-52 Stratofortress at Hill Air Force Base

In 1971, Hill Air Force Base became one of six bases hosting new satellite alert facilities for the B-52 bomber force. Four B-52s were assigned to the 456th Bombardment Wing (Heavy). The first of the four B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the detachment arrived at the base in December 1973 and continued to function until July 1975. Today, Hill Air Force Base maintains and manages the B-52H’s landing gear, wheels, tires and brakes.

Nicknamed “Bearing Arms,” the B-52G located at Hill Aerospace Museum was manufactured by Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, and delivered to the USAF in October 1959. It was first assigned to the 72nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at Ramey Air Force Base in May 1962, but later returned to the Boeing factory for wing modification and strengthening to counteract the fatigue cracks occurring in the B-52 fleet.

After modifications, the aircraft was stationed at Beale Air Force Base with the 456th Bombardment Wing (Heavy). The 456th completed deployments to Anderson Air Base, Guam, with this aircraft. After seven transfers to different units, spanning more than 20 years, it moved to its final duty station with the 93rd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at Castle Air Force Base in December 1988.

Finally, in 1991, the USAF dropped the “Bearing Arms” from its inventory and made it available to the United States Air Force Museum Program. In that same year, the B-52G’s final flight was from Castle Air Force Base to Hill Air Force Base to be placed on display at Hill Aerospace Museum.


Does the B-52 have a toilet?

Though the aircraft is 159′ long with a crew of five, the Stratofortress does not have a toilet. Crewmen instead use bags which are then disposed of upon return to base.

How many B-52s were shot down in Vietnam?

During the 10-year conflict in Vietnam, some 30 B-52s were shot down. However, in a shocking twist, two MiG-21 fighters were shot down by the tail gunners onboard the Stratofortress.

When was the last B-52 built?

The last B-52 rolled off the assembly line in October 1962 in Seattle, Washington and Wichita, Kansas.

Does the B-52 have guns?

The Stratofortress was the last American bomber to feature weapons used in self-defense. By 1992, the Air Force made the decision to remove the weapons, since the advent of long-range, surface-to-air missiles and multiple defensive technologies had rendered the weapons obsolete.