Tag Archives: B-52

U.S. B-52 Bomber Performs Show Of Force Over Moroccan Range During Exercise African Lion 2018. And Here Are Some Interesting Details.

A Stratofortress bomber flew over Morocco as part of a round-trip Global Power mission from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

On Apr. 20, a USAF B-52 made several bombing runs over a range near Tan Tan, Morocco, as part of Ex. African Lion 2018, an annual multilateral exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of African partner nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures.

The American strategic bomber launched from Barksdale AFB, home of the 2nd BW (Bomb Wing), using callsign Mytee 51. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean and before engaging the Moroccan range was joined by two 48th FW F-15Cs and two RMAF F16 Block 52+ from Ben Guerir Air Base, a former U.S. Air Force base located about 36 miles (58 km) north of Marrakech which served as a Transatlantic Abort Landing (TAL) site for the Space Shuttle, and MOB (Main Operating Base) for the exercise.

Airspare was MYTEE52 and was showing on ADSB and recovered somewhere south in Florida for some reason. (credit: @aircraftspots)

 

Along the way, the B-52 was supported by several U.S. Air Force KC-135 tankers, including Qid 259 and 260 from RAF Mildenhall, UK.

100th ARW KC-135Rs were launched from RAF Mildenhall to support the B-52 mission. Image credit: @aircraftspots

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Squadron refueled both the B-52 and its escorting aircraft, including the RMAF F-16s whilst the package was also escorted by at least one Mirage F1 (shown in the picture below).

A Royal Moroccan air force F-16 prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Squadron, during Exercise African Lion April 20, 2018. Various units from the U.S. Armed Forces will conduct multilateral and stability operations training with units from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces in the Kingdom of Morocco. This combined multilateral exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures while demonstrating the strong bond between the nation’s militaries. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

H/T to our friend @aircraftspots for providing the details about the routing, callsigns etc you can find in this post.

Six B-52 Strategic Bombers Deploying To Guam To Replace Six B-1s And Join Three B-2Mes Already There

The U.S. Air Force bomber trio (B-52, B-2 and B-1) currently deployed to Guam: it’s the second time since August 2016.

Six B-52H bombers and approximately 300 Airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, are deploying to Andersen AFB, Guam, in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission. Two Stratofortresses have arrived in Guam on Jan. 15; the rest are expected to deploy in the next hours. They join six B-1s and three B-2s already in Guam.

The iconic B-52 bombers will relieve the B-1B Lancers that deployed from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, on Aug. 6, 2016, as part of their first CBP deployment in support of the U.S. Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) deterrence efforts in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in 10 years.

During their deployment, the 37th EBS conducted a variety of joint and bilateral training missions with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, South Korean air force and Royal Australian Air Force, including some symbolic shows of force against North Korea alongside the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B forward based in Japan.

The bomber trio at Guam in August 2016.

Noteworthy, at the beginning of their tour of duty in the Pacific in 2016, the B-1s replaced another B-52 detachment: the 69th EBS from Minot AFB, ND. Before the Stratofortress bombers started returning home, three B-2s arrived in Guam for a “short-term deployment”: exploiting the presence of the three bomber types on the very same forward operating base, on Aug. 17, 2016, the U.S. Air Force conducted the first coordinated operation in the U.S Pacific Command AOR (Area Of Operations) launching three aircraft (1x B-2, 1x B-52 and 1x B-1) in sequence from Andersen Air Force Base to conduct simultaneous operations in the South China Sea and Northeast Asia.

Considered the presence of B-52s, B-2s and B-1s once again together at the same time in Guam will give the U.S. Air Force the opportunity to launch again the trio in an integrated bomber operation in the Pacific similar to the one carried out in the Summer of 2016.

“The B-52H’s return to the Pacific will provide USPACOM and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform, while bringing years of repeated operational experience. The B-52 is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters) and can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability. This forward-deployed presence demonstrates the continued commitment of the U.S.to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” says the U.S. Air Force official release.

The B-52 deployment in support of the CBP missions brings again a constant (at least until the next rotation) nuclear bomber capability within striking distance of North Korea.

Meanwhile, four B-52H Stratofortress aircraft have arrived in the UK for theatre integration and training at RAF Fairford. The aircraft are from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and will conduct theatre integration and training in Europe.

Many “Buffs” deployed across the globe!

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

 

Three U.S. B-52s deploying to the UK to take part in European drills

Three “Buffs” on the move to take part in three exercises in the U.S. EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of responsibility.

Three B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers are scheduled to deploy  from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, on Jun. 2.

The aircraft are on the move to participate in U.S. European Command (EUCOM)’s Exercises Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 16 and SaberStrike 16, and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)’s Just Hammer.

This deployment marks the third year in a row that strategic bombers have deployed to RAF Fairford and trained with U.S. and allied military forces during exercises across Europe. B-52s from Barksdale AFB deployed to Morón Air Base, Spain, in February and March, to take part in Norwegian Exercise Cold Response and French Exercise Serpentex.

More recently, two Buffs opened Ex. Eager Lion 2016 (performing a simulated air strike during a 35-hour round trip mission from CONUS).

Last year the B-52s took part in BALTOPS 2015 during which they simulated massive naval mine drop outside Sweden.

“Integrating strategic bombers with multi-national operations in a variety of scenarios enhances the readiness and capability of U.S. and #NATO military forces, which is vital to global security,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, United States Strategic Command commander said in an AFGSC (Air Force Global Strike Command) release. “Ensuring we can operate from strategic forward locations like RAF Fairford is integral to our collective defense capabilities and a more timely and coordinated response during crises.”

Six B-52s are currently deployed to Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar from where they operate in support of Operation Inherent Resolve taking part in the air war against Daesh.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

French Rafale aircraft intercept the U.S. B-52 bomber that performed Lafayette Escadrille Memorial flyover

The celebrations for the centenary of Lafayette squadron provided an interesting intercept opportunity.

The Lafayette Escadrille is one of the most famous U.S. squadron to operate in France before and during WWI.

It was formed on April 20, 1916 by 38 U.S. volunteer pilots who flew under French command a year before the U.S. entered into the conflict.

A memorial celebrates not only the 38 original pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, but all 269 American pilots who flew with the French Air Force as part of the larger Lafayette Flying Corps, 68 of whom were killed during the war and are interred at the memorial crypt.

B-52 escorted by Rafale 2

During the ceremony held at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France, on Apr. 20, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the squadron’s formation, one B-52, four F-22 Raptor fighters (from their deployment base at RAF Lakenheath), three FAF Mirage 2000Ns, one FAF Rafale and a World War I-era Stearman PT-17 biplane performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille’s formation.

Interestingly, the (somehow) rare flight of the B-52 strategic bomber inside the French airspace provided an interesting opportunity to the French Air Force Rafale that practiced an interception on the Stratofortress and took some cool air-to-air images (as happened last year when Dutch F-16s intercepted and escorted a “Buff” involved in a round-trip mission from Barksdale AFB to the Arctic and North Sea regions respectively).

B-52 escorted by Rafale 3

Image credit: French Air Force