Sponsored by the Boeing Company


Aircraft Type: B-52B(RB), S/N 52-8711, Stratofortress, Boeing

Mission: Heavy Bomber

Number Built : The Air Force purchased 744 B-52s- prototype, test, and reconnaissance configurations included. Precisely, the B-52 program counted 1 XB-52, 1 YB-52 (first flown on April 15, 1952, almost 6 months ahead of the experimental B-52), 3 B-52As (restricted to testing), 50 B-52Bs (27 of which could also be used for reconnaissance), 35 B/RB-52Cs, 170 B-52Ds, 100 B-52Es, 89 B-52Fs, 193 B-52Gs, and 102 B-52Hs. Six years of development preceded the beginning of production which, after a slow start around 1953, did not end until October 1962.

Powerplant: Eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-29W turbojet engines, 10,900 lbs. thrust each.

Weight: Empty 175,000 lbs., Loaded 420,000 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 420,000 lbs.

Dimensions: Wingspan 185′, Length 152’9″, Height 48’3″.

Performance: Maximum speed 612 MPH at 40,000 feet, cruising speed 565 MPH, service ceiling 47,000 feet.

Significance of Type :

Significance of Type: The Boeing B-52 "Stratofortress" has been the principal bomber of the Strategic Air Command since the 1950s. In 1990, it was operated by 12 of SAC’s 18 bomb wings. The B-52 was designed to provide a high-altitude strategic bomber with intercontinental ranges. However, the range goals were not met during design, and the B-52 gross weight was “frozen” at about 480,000 lbs, with in-flight refueling to permit long-range missions.

The B-52 is capable of both conventional free-fall bomb delivery and air-to-ground missile launch missions. B-52s were used in conventional bombing roles in the Vietnam War. Although originally designed as a nuclear bomber, the existing B-52 force may be deployed in various conventional missions, including show of force (as in Desert Storm), precision strikes, and defense suppression. The plane’s capabilities also include sea surveillance, surface ship air interdiction with anti-ship missiles, and aerial mining.

About Our B-52B(RB), S/N 52-8711 : The Museum’s B-52 was manufactured by Boeing Aircraft, Seattle WA and delivered to the USAF on June 28, 1955. B-52B(RB), S/N 52-8711 was the first operational B-52 to be assigned to the Strategic Air Command . Below are the unit assignments of this aircraft:

June 1955- To 93rd Bombardment (Heavy) Wing (Strategic Air Command), Castle AFB, California (to B-52B)

December 1963- To 22nd Bombardment (H) Wing (SAC), March AFB, California

September 29, 1965- Dropped from inventory by transfer to the SAC Aerospace Museum