Boeing B-52H Stratofortress (60-0048 / LA) from the United States Air Force at the RIAT 2019, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
The B-52 'Stratofortress' is an aircraft that has become synonymous with RAF Fairford having been based here during the first Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo conflict in 1999 and the 'second' Gulf War in 2003. This aircraft on the static display comes from the 2nd Bomber Wing / 20th Bomb Squadron, Air Force Global Strike Command based at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, United States of America.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 32.000 kg (70.000 pounds) of weapons, and has a typical combat range of more than 14.080 km (8800 miles) without aerial refueling. The B-52's official name Stratofortress is rarely used; informally, the aircraft has become commonly referred to as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker/Fella). The B-52 completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, the last airframes are expected to serve into the 2050s. The B-52H had the same crew and structural changes as the B-52G. The most significant upgrade was the switch to TF33-P-3 turbofan engines which, despite the initial reliability problems (corrected by 1964 under the Hot Fan program), offered considerably better performance and fuel economy than the J57 turbojets. The ECM and avionics were updated, a new fire control system was fitted, and the rear defensive armament was changed from machine guns to a 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon (later removed in 1991–94). The final 18 aircraft were manufactured with provision for the ADR-8 countermeasures rocket, which was later retrofitted to the remainder of the B-52G and B-52H fleet. A provision was made for four GAM-87 Skybolt ballistic missiles. The aircraft's first flight occurred on 10 July 1960, and it entered service on 9 May 1961. This is the only variant still in use by the United States Air Force. A total of 102 B-52Hs were built. The last production aircraft, B-52H AF Serial No. 61-0040, left the factory on 26 October 1962.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.