“Mighty” flights: six B-52 bombers crossing the Pond to deploy to Qatar

A B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., touches down at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 9, 2016. The B-52 offers diverse capabilities including the delivery of precision weapons. The aircraft and its crew have deployed in support Operation Inherent Resolve. This deployment is the first basing of the B-52s in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in 26 years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb) In the box, part of the route of the B-52 (image via Skyvector.com)

Mighty 71-72, 81-82, 83-84: the six “Buffs” deploying to the Middle East for the first time in 30 years.

Six B-52s are going to support Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, replacing the B-1s, that have returned stateside for upgrades.

On Apr. 8, Mighty 71 and 72 were the first pair, followed on Apr. 11 by Mighty 81-82 and on Apr. 12 by Mighty 83-84. On Apr. 10, Mighty 75-76 were forced to cancel their transatlantic flight because of a tech issue of one of the supporting KC-10s.

Users of the Fighter Control forum have posted several inflight reports the aircraft radioed on HF frequencies during the flights: these included waypoints along the route that helped trace their route towards the Mediterranean Sea (H/T @planesonthenet for the map) and then, most probably (based on what happened in the past), via Egypt, Saudi Arabia.

Here are some position reports (via FC and POTN):
“MIGHTY 71 wkg Santa Maria on 8906. 4153N20W 2046 FL270-280, estimate 3920N16W 211”

“MIGHTY 81 wkg Gander on 8864 with posrep. 4815N45W 1820Z FL270-280, estimate 4815N40W 1846, 4745N35W next.”

“MIGHTY 83 flight started across Atlantic Course plot 4740N50W, 4810N45W 4815N40W 4745N35W 4535N26W 42N20W KOMUT BEXEL FL270-280”

Noteworthy, the Mighty flights used block levels FL270-280.



About David Cenciotti 4337 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.