The US Air Force announced that long-range heavy bombers, B-52’s, have arrived at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. They flew out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and arrived on Saturday. Their purpose is to launch airstrikes against ISIS, according to a press release from the Air Force Central Command.
The B-52 bombers have not been stationed in the Mid-East since Operation Desert Storm in the 1990’s. Their last operational missions were in 2006 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, according to the release. This current deployment takes place some three months after the B-1B Lancer bombers were removed from the area for repairs and maintenance.
The B-52 has a range of nearly 9000 miles, can reach top speeds of about 650 mph, and can carry around 70,000 pounds of various types of bombs, missiles, and mines. It is capable of carrying out numerous types of missions such as close air support, strategic attack, air interdiction, and maritime operations. There are an estimated 76 of these bombers, divided up between the active service and reserve components. It is not known how many of the bombers were deployed.
New technology allows these workhorses to maintain a high degree of accuracy with their bombing missions. They can now also carry precision-guided weapons that are capable of hitting smaller targets such as individual buildings or vehicles.
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