Here Are Some Impressive Photos Of The B-52 “Elephant Walk” At Barksdale Air Force Base

B-52H Stratofortresses from the 2nd Bomb Wing line up on the runway at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 14, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

Eight “BUFFs” from the 2nd Bomb Wing took part in a readiness exercise yesterday.

On Oct. 14, 2020, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, hosted a readiness exercise the 2nd BW conducted to validate its ability to launch a significant number of B-52H Stratofortress bombers at very short notice.

The images released by the U.S. Air Force through the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service show eight strategic bombers lined up on the runway at their base, preparing for take off.

B-52H Stratofortresses from the 2nd Bomb Wing line up on the runway at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 14, 2020. The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions and has been the backbone of U.S. strategic bomber forces for more than 60 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

Not many details about the exercise have been released by the Air Force, even though it looks like the B-52s used the radio callsign “SHUSH” and after their mission they landed at Minot AFB, North Dakota, home of another Stratofortress unit, the 5th Bomb Wing (that took part in an Elephant Walk at Andersen AFB on Guam last April with 5x BUFFs)

While still quite impressive, compared to other mass launches in the near past, this latest one was somewhat small. In June 2012, 17x B-52s launched during Constant Vigilance exercise held at Minot Air Force Base. In June 2009, Minot hosted a 15-ship MITO (Minimum Interval Take Off) in support of Exercise Global Thunder.

Another image of the Elephant Walk (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

Noteworthy, during training events that require a rapid launch of the B-52, aircraft are started up by a method known “cart-starts” from cartridge starts: a small-controlled explosive is inserted into two of the eight engines of the heavy bomber. The charges jumpstart the engines (the remaining engines are started while the aircraft taxies to the runway) removing the need to use ground equipment normally used for aircraft’s startup.

Using cart-starts, startup time is cut from more than an hour to less than 10 minutes.

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About David Cenciotti 4160 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.