The “Buff” may soon start pounding Daesh.
The Buffs (Big Ugly Fat Fellas) would be headed to the Central Command area of operations to replace the B-1 Lancers, the last of those returned stateside in January, after a 6-month deployment worth 3,800 munitions on 3,700 targets in 490 sorties. The B-1s could return to the Mideast this summer after they receive additional cockpit upgrades.
It’s not clear where the B-52s will be based. Whilst the B-1s operated out of Al Udeid in Qatar, it is possible that the +60 years old bombers will be based in one of their “traditional” airbase in the region: possibly Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, that hosts the Stratofortresses on a regular basis.
Actually, the B-52s are capable to perform round-trip missions directly from their homebase at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, as demonstrated in May 2015, when two B-52Hs showed their ability to do on a range in Jordan: a 14,000 miles 30-hour trip to drop some 500-lb GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs.
Dealing with the type of mission the B-52s will carry out in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, it will probably be the same of the B-1s: Close Air Support and Air Interdiction delivering a wide variety of PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), including JDAMs on ISIS positions.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force