Editor’s Note: As we recently said, the BUFF may be old and tired, but she’s still an angry girl eager to rise up in the fight against Daesh. With the capacity to rain down seventy thousand pounds of harsh judgement, the thought of the BUFF prowling the airspace above Syria and Iraq was enough to bring excited smiles to our faces. The numbers of aircraft and personnel making the trip has not been disclosed as this point in time, but Air Force Global Strike Command has been readying its B-52 fleet for a return to the Operation Inherent Resolve AOR since the last Bones returned stateside in January. More to come on this!
The B-52 Stratofortress will begin dropping bombs on the Islamic State group come April.
The bombers are headed to the Central Command area of operations to replace the B-1 Lancers, the last of them returning in January, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, said at an Air Force Association Conference last week. The B-1s should return this summer after they receive additional upgrades.
Neither the number of B-52s nor number of airmen, under Air Force Global Strike Command, have been disclosed yet for the operation.
The aircraft, which had been used to drop unguided bombs in previous wars, including Afghanistan, can now be used to provide backup with the accuracy of precision-guided munitions. It will be the first deployment for the bombers to fight Islamic State targets, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“We’re going to keep the B-52 around. It provides some missions for us that are hard to replicate, primarily the range and payload the airplane provides,” Lt. Gen. James “Mike” Holmes, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told Air Force Times on Feb. 18.
The original article on the Air Force Times can be viewed in its entirety here.
(Featured photo by Jonathan Derden)