Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, 1952 onwards (all marks), Owners Workshop Manual

B1806

The author has reviewed the full history to date for the Stratofortress and the aircraft looks likely to outlive its variable geometry supersonic B1 Lancer successor. The secret of the B-52 longevity is its rugged structure, long-range and ability to carry a heavy load of nuclear and conventional weapons, including bunker-busting bombs originally designed by Barnes Wallis and carried by the Avro Lancaster in WWII.

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NAME: Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, 1952 onwards (all marks), Owners Workshop Manual
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1806
DATE: 150213
AUTHOR: Steve Davis
PUBLISHER: Haynes
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 168
PRICE: £21.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Strategic bomber, nuclear bomber, jet aircraft, SAC, research aircraft, NASA
ISBN: 978-0-85733-259-2
IMAGE: B1806.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The publisher is continuing to expand the very successful warbird workshop manuals. Some subjects are or will be restored to full flying condition and be used as private aircraft or tour the air show circuits. This new manual covers a subject that is unlikely to become a privately owned air show flying restoration but is likely to continue to be added to museum catalogues as a static display. It also seems set to fly on in US Federal Governmetn service for some time to come.

In the jet age it seems strange that an aircraft can complete 60 years and still show signs of soldiering on. The Boeing B-52 is one rare example of an aircraft that never fulfilled its original designed purpose to the point of dropping nuclear weapons, but it has seen combat and continues to do so.

The author has reviewed the full history to date for the Stratofortress and the aircraft looks likely to outlive its variable geometry supersonic B1 Lancer successor. The secret of the B-52 longevity is its rugged structure, long-range and ability to carry a heavy load of nuclear and conventional weapons, including bunker-busting bombs originally designed by Barnes Wallis and carried by the Avro Lancaster in WWII.

Originally, B-52 bombers of the USAF Strategic Air Command were intended to both provide rapid take-off during nuclear bombardment and to form a standing patrol that was always in the air to guard against a sneak Soviet attack. Although the standing air patrol never failed in its operation as depicted in the film “Dr Strangelove” but at least one B-52 accidentally lost its nuclear weapons and rumours continue that four B-52 bombers were involved in accidental bomb release. Fortunately no accidental release resulted in an accidental nuclear detonation but rumours also persist that Soviet bombers lost weapons in flight and one story that in one instance an accidental detonation took place. It continued to be a concern that a rough pilot or an accident by Soviet or US nuclear bombers might start a devastating World War and there was some relief when the B-52 and its Soviet counterparts stood down from their nuclear deterrent role.

As with the British V Bombers, B-52s did not retire after their original role became redundant. The British Valiant and Victor V-Bombers were to end their service as refuelling tankers, but the Vulcan was to eventually drop conventional bombs on Stanley airfield during the assault to liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentine bandits. The B-52 was to provide a much longer service as a conventional weapons bomber, serving in numbers in Vietnam and in attacks on Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regular forces that were using routes through neighbouring countries in SE Asia. That conventional bombardment role has continued in the later wars in the Middle East, where no effective fighter force has existed to challenge the high altitude sorties.

As with the other titles in this innovative series, this book contains many photographs and drawings to fully support the concise but complete text. The well established format of viewing the aircraft through the eyes of pilots, aircrew and engineers has been followed, after an introduction covering the design development and deployment of the aircraft.

Three Wings of B-52H bombers continue in service and the B-52 has also been used for several research projects, including the testing of new engines intended for other aircraft and as a heavy launch platform in NASA service. How much longer the B-52 will continue as a front line aircraft with the USAF remains to be seen but it continues to provide a viable bombardment platform where the USAF enjoys air superiority and costs less to operate in this environment than later and more complex aircraft such as the B1 Lancer and B2 Spirit. When it is eventually withdrawn from frontline service, it may continue on in a second line role or for special research programs.

This book provides an unrivalled review of an outstanding aircraft that may prove to be the longest serving front line combat aircraft of any airforce.

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