FighterSweep Fans, as we mentioned before, the mighty B-52H Stratofortress is on deck to start laying down “positive influence” on Daesh. To that effect, the first BUFFs arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar this past weekend in preparation for their first sorties over Iraq and Syria. With its huge payload, the B-52 is able to stay on station for an extended period of time and deliver a staggering amount of destruction against enemy fighting positions.
U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Saturday joining Operation Inherent Resolve, the American-led campaign against the Islamic State group.
The deployment marks the first time the Air Force will use the Cold War-era warplanes — from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana — in the counter-ISIS fight in Iraq and Syria. The service did not disclose the exact number of bombers it deployed.
“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component, said in a release.
“As a multi-role platform, the B-52 offers diverse capabilities including delivery of precision weapons and the flexibility and endurance needed to support the combatant commander’s priorities and strengthen the coalition team.”
In March, Air Force officials hinted that the aircraft, affectionately known as the “Big Ugly Fat Fellow,” would replace the B-1 Lancers, which returned in January.
“There have been recent infrastructure improvements that now allow the necessary support to deploy the B-52 in theater,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at an Air Force briefing on March 7.
Despite being the Air Force inventory for more than 50 years, BUFFs can drop precision-guided weapons. Its payload capacity at 70,000 pounds can include gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided (cruise) missiles and joint direct attack munitions.