Tag Archives: B-52

B-52H Crew from Guam Locates Ocean Canoe Crew Gone Adrift in Pacific In A Bomber’s Rare Maritime SAR Mission

In a Dramatic Open Ocean Search an Air Force Crew Finds Paddlers Missing Six Days. The lost canoe was located by the crew from one of the B-52H after it was compared to a similar one that appeared in a Disney cartoon.

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress crew from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam are being hailed as heroes. The B-52H located the lost crew of an open ocean Polynesian-style canoe after they were missing at sea for six days.

The traditional Pacific Island-style canoe carrying six paddlers had become lost after sailing from nearby Piagailoe Atoll on June 19. The journey from the atoll to Guam was only supposed to take one day — meaning the paddlers, who had minimal supplies had been missing at sea for nearly a week.

Following the location of the canoers from the USAF B-52H, the six-member crew of the ocean-going canoe rendezvoused with a merchant vessel in the area that was directed to their location to effect rescue. The merchant vessel provided the canoers with water, food and navigational assistance so they could safely return to land.

The eight-engine, long range B-52H bomber joined the search when the crew from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., was on a routine flight during a deployment to Guam. The heavy bomber crew responded to a call from the Coast Guard for assistance in the search on June 25.

“This was a unique situation for us,” Capt. Sean Simpson, one of the bomber’s crew, said in an Air Force statement. “It’s not every day the B-52 gets called for a search and rescue.”

Initially the crew of the B-52H was unfamiliar with the type of vessel they were searching for. Coast Guard personal compared the small, difficult to spot indigenous canoe with the boat from the Disney cartoon “Moana”. Capt. Simpson told media, “We asked for more details about the vessel and the dispatcher told us, ‘It’s just like the boat from [the Disney film] ‘Moana.’”

The B-52H crew were able to locate the canoe and its crew at sea only three hours after being called into the search and rescue operation.
“We spotted this vessel from about 19,000 feet,” 1st Lt. Jordan Allen told Air Force media in the statement. “It’s really a small miracle that we were able to see it, because there was quite a bit of clouds.”

Six passengers aboard a canoe were located in a joint search and rescue mission June 25, 2018, in the Pacific Ocean Southwest of Guam. Crew members flying a B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS), stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), La., and deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, successfully located six passengers who had been missing for six days and relayed their location to the U.S. Coast Guard. (courtesy photo)

“Search and rescue isn’t something people typically think of when they talk about the B-52, but our training and adaptability really paid off,” Lt. Col. Jarred Prier, the bomb squadron’s director of operations, said in the statement. “Being a part of this successful search and rescue operation speaks to the diversity of our skill set and shows our importance here in the Pacific.”

The lost canoe was located by the crew from one of the B-52H after it was compared to a similar one that appeared in a Disney cartoon. (Photo: via Pinterest)

While the 63-year old Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, first flown in 1952 and accepted into the Air Force in 1955, is oddly well suited for the maritime search and rescue role even though it was introduced as a global reach strategic nuclear bomber. The aircraft has an extremely long combat radius of 4,480 miles, meaning it can search out in a straight line 4,480 miles and return the same distance without refueling. Given midair refueling availability, the B-52’s endurance is limited mostly by its crew’s physical endurance.

In January 1957 three USAF B-52s set an endurance record by becoming the first jet aircraft to circle the earth on a non-stop flight. The early version B-52Bs flew continuously for 45 hours and 19 minutes. In total the planes flew 24,345 miles without landing.

Top image: a file photo of a B-52H from the 2nd Operations Group, the parent unit of the 20th Bomb Squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

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