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For the first time in the past 25 years, the US has deployed its B-52 bombers to the Middle East.
The aircraft will operate in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the air war against ISIS replacing the B-1 Lancers, who were returned to the US in January, after a 6-month deployment worth 3,800 munitions on 3,700 targets in 490 sorties, according to The Aviationist. Despite the fact that B-1 bombers were used only in seven percent of sorties against Daesh, they had dropped nearly 40 percent of the bombs.
Earlier, B-52 bombers were engaged during the war in Afghanistan in 2006 as well as military exercises in Jordan in 2015.
“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects. As a multi-role platform, the B-52 offers diverse capabilities including delivery of precision weapons and the flexibility and endurance needed to support the combatant commanders’ priorities and strengthen the coalition team,” Commander of US Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. was quoted as saying in a statement.
The bombers will be stationed at Al Udeid in Qatar, which will be their first deployment in the region after the Gulf War.
The B-52 is a multirole long-range strategic missile-carrying bomber. The aircraft was developed by Boeing and has been in service with the US Air Force since 1955. At subsonic speeds at an altitude of up to 15 km the B-52 can carry different types of munitions, including nuclear weapons.
Despite its long combat career, it will remain the main strategic bomber with the US Air Force until 2040.