USAF deploys six B-52Hs to Qatar

Six US Air Force (USAF)-operated Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic heavy bombers have been deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to protect US and coalition forces as they conduct drawdown operations from Afghanistan.

B-52H [USAF/Staff Sgt Greg Irwin]
A USAF-operated Boeing B-52H Stratofortress - serial 60-0026 ‘MT’ - from the 5th BW’s 23rd Bomb Squadron ‘Bomber Barons’, arrives at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on May 4 to provide support for the drawdown in Afghanistan. USAF/Staff Sgt Greg Irwin

The aircraft are all from the 5th Bomb Wing (BW) ‘The Warbirds’, which is a component of Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) and is based at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The first two B-52Hs landed at Al Udeid Air Base on the evening of April 23 and were followed by two more on April 26. The final two aircraft arrived in Qatar on May 4.

This latest deployment went ahead following approval from US Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin III, who also gave the go-ahead for the US Navy’s USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69) aircraft carrier and its battle group to extend its stay in the region, where it remains within range of Afghanistan in case airstrikes become necessary.