The organizers of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) have confirmed that the United States Air Force will be sending the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress to perform a flying display at this year’s event.

The B-52H Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision-guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.

In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations.

During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the ωɛλρσɳs dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. In two hours, two B-52s can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometres) of the ocean surface.

All B-52s can be equipped with two electro-optical viewing sensors, a forward-looking infrared and advanced targeting pods to augment targeting, battle assessment and flight safety, further improving its combat ability.

Pilots wear night-vision goggles, or NVGs, to enhance their vision during night operations. Night vision goggles provide greater safety during night operations by increasing the pilot’s ability to visually clear terrain, increasing the peacetime and combat situational awareness of the aircrew and improving their ability to visually acquire other aircraft.

Statement from the organizers;

“Among the aircraft joining us this summer as the Air Tattoo to celebrate 75 years of the USAF is one of their most iconic heavy bomber aircraft.

The B-52 ‘Stratofortress’ is an aircraft that has become synonymous with RAF Fairford having been based here during the first Gulf W4r in 1991, the Kosovo conflict in 1999 and the ‘second’ Gulf W4r in 2003. First flying in 1952, the type itself is 70 years old this year and is anticipated to have been in service for over a century before it is eventually retired.

This year we are lucky enough to have a pair of B-52s at the Air Tattoo, one in the static and one in the flying display. We are expecting the static example to the from the 5th Bomber Wing, Air Force Global Strike Command based at Minot Air Force Base and the flying example from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base.”

Source: European Air Shows

About Victoria Derbyshire

Victoria Derbyshire is senior Pentagon reporter for Probashir Konthosor, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.

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