Having entered service in 1961, consideration has been given to replacing the B-52H’s Pratt & Whitney TF-33 powerplants for 48 of its 58 years with the USAF. Now more than half way through its expected service life, the B-52 is closer to re-engining than ever, as Tom Kaminski explains.

Operations are presently split between the 5th Bomb Wing stationed at Minot AFB, North Dakota and Barksdale AFB’s 2nd Operations Group.
USAF/Master Sgt Michael A Kaplan

At an average age of 56 years, the USAF’s fleet of 76 B-52H strategic bombers is unarguably the service’s oldest combat aircraft. The Stratofortress is, however, also its most capable and Air Force Global Strike Command’s (AFGSC) latest Bomber Roadmap calls for the aircraft to remain in service until 2050 or beyond.

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