Tag Archives: Al Udeid

Take A Seat In the Cockpit Of A U.S. B-52 Bomber As It Drops GBU-31 “Bunker Buster” Bombs On ISIS Targets In Mosul

Rare Insight Into The Operations Of The B-52s.

The venerable U.S. Air Force B-52 Buffs have been supporting the air war on ISIS since April 2016. They Stratofortress strategic bombers, based at Al Udeid, Qatar, launched their first air strike against a Daesh weapons storage facility in Iraq on Apr. 18, 2016.

As already highlighted in a previous article, the USAF B-52s have mainly flown Close Air Support and Air Interdiction mainly delivering two types of JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions): the 500-lb laser-guided GBU-54s and the 2,000-lb GPS-guided GBU-31V3 “bunker busters” loaded onto the Heavy Stores Adaptor Beam pylons.

The typical loadout includes 3x GBU-31s and 8x GBU-54s along with PGMs carried inside the bomb bay of the B-52H Stratofortress. With the 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade the Buffs can carry up to 16 external laser JDAMs (8 per pylon) as well as 8 internal J-series weapons mounted on a conventional rotary launcher: a mix of PGMs that gives the Buffs the ability to deliver attack both stationary and moving ground targets. In particular, the GBU-54s, that combines 500-lb Mk-82 warhead and the precision strike capability delivered by its dual Laser/GPS mode guidance system can be used against targets with reduced collateral damage.

For hardened targets or concrete shelters, the weapons of choice is the GBU-31s.The JDAM is a GPS aided inertially guided bomb. The Guidance and Control Unit (GCU) containing a HG1700 RLG, GEM-III GPS receiver and computer package is installed inside the bomb tailkit. The GCU is used on the bunker busting 2,000-lb class BLU-109/B forged steel penetrator warhead.

The GBU-31s are assembled at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, by airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s Munitions Flight. Considered that the base

The following video provides a really interesting point of view: it shows a high-altitude attack on a target in western Mosul (according to @obretix), as seen from the cockpit of a B-52 of the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron on May 23, 2017. The detonation of the bombs as they hit the ground appears to be pretty huge.

H/T @obretix for the heads-up

 

Two B-52 strategic bombers have just arrived in Qatar to start pounding ISIS

The “Buff” has arrived at Al Udeid airbase.

Two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, have arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Apr. 9, 2016.

The aircraft, using radio callsign Mighty 71 were monitored by several radiohams on HF frequencies during their flight from the U.S. to the Middle East.

The aircraft will operate in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the air war against ISIS replacing 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. By the way, the B-1s could return to the Mideast this summer after they receive additional cockpit upgrades…

Although the B-52s are capable to perform round-trip missions directly from their homebase 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 in an old-fashioned carpet bombing mission) the about 60 years old “Buffs” (Big Ugly Fat Fellas) will be stationed at Al Udeid in Qatar, the first deployment of the Stratofortress in the region after the Gulf War.

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