American B-52 bombers are expected to start pounding ISIS strongholds in Syria by next month, indicated a U.S. Air Force official. Though rather archaic, the bombers have undergone several upgrades over the course of its service life and should serve as an equally potent replacement to the B-1 Lancer bombers that have been serving in the region.
The U.S. Air Force indicated it is ready to deploy the B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers, commonly referred to as B-52, to the Middle East. The Col-War-era bomber jet will be a part of the military campaign against Islamic State in Syria. The fleet of the bombers is expected to relive the B-1 Lancer bombers that have been operational in the area.
US to send nuclear-capable B-52 warplanes to bomb ISIS https://t.co/MQNLmG1Z3R— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) March 5, 2016
Air Force Secretary Deborah James said the iconic B-52 was ready for service against ISIS, reported Scout. Speaking about the impending deployment, she said the following.
“The venerable B-52, with its similar capacity and accuracy and endurance, remains ready and able to meet combatant commander requirements. The Boeing Co.-made aircraft’s deployment required carrying out infrastructure improvements in theater that have since been made and awaits final approval.”
James denied offering any further information about the type of “work” or where it was done to prepare the area for the iconic bomber, reported Military. The deployment order hasn’t yet been given and is awaiting final approval. More information would be released “at the appropriate time,” she added.
The B-52 bombers are expected to be deployed next month and will take part in the air campaign against ISIS, shared Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command. He announced the deployment while speaking at the Air Warfare Symposium 2016 in Orlando, Florida, in February, reported CNN.
The B-52 will replace the B-1 Lancer bombers, which were hereto deployed in the region to carry out airstrikes over the suspected ISIS strongholds in Syria. However, owing to the extensive usage, the bombers and their crew do need a break, hinted James.
“The air campaign against ISIS is taking a toll on our aircraft, our readiness and our airmen.”
What she seemed to imply was that the joint offensive, known as the Crusader Campaign, which has been going for quite some time now, has been exhausting for those deployed along the front lines. While the joint campaigns majorly involve airstrikes conducted by fighter jets and drones, the military exercises do take a visible toll on the soldiers and the equipment, which needs to be periodically called back. While the soldiers’ shifts are rotated, the equipment is recalled for conducting repairs and upgrades. This is precisely why the B-1 Lancer bombers were withdrawn, added James.
“B-1 Lancer bombers were withdrawn from the Middle East in January in order to undergo modernization and maintenance.”
Prior to their withdrawal from the Middle East, the B-1 Lancer bombers had flown 490 sorties against ISIS during their six-month deployment, reported Fox 6 Now.
The B-52 bomber is undoubtedly one of the oldest active aircraft in the U.S. Air Force. The relatively behemoth war jet weighing about 185,000 pounds first entered service when the Cold War was at its peak. These bombers were meant to serve as long-range, high-altitude intercontinental nuclear bombers. America had originally designed these planes to strike a deadly blow deep within the Soviet Union if things went bad.
Newer B-52 bombers entered service in 1962 and have since been a Cold War icon. Despite their age, these planes aren’t an antique on the inside. They have undergone numerous upgrades over the years. Though the 159-foot plane may have retained the iconic exterior, the modern-day B-52 bomber that will try and destroy ISIS strongholds is fitted with cutting-edge electronics and high-tech sensors, not to mention, can ferry about 70,000 pounds of bombs, mines, and missiles.
[Photo by U.S. Air Force]