Plans to extend an Air Force training area into a large portion of the eastern part of the state are opposed by Montana’s U.S. senators.
On Dec. 21, democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester stated in a letter to the Air Force secretary and chief of staff that the expansion presents safety risks, would disrupt air traffic and would risk damaging the artifacts at the Little Big Horn National Battlefield.
U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg says the Air Force has extended its comment period until Jan. 20, 2011.
Rehberg says many ranchers, pilots and others are just learning about the proposed expansion and have not yet had time to comment.
Designed and built by Boeing and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber.
Also used by the USAF, the Rockwell – now part of Boeing – B-1 Lancer is a four-engine, variable-sweep wing strategic bomber. First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability.
On Jan. 8, the Air Force Reserve Command’s 917th Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, which since the 1970s has operated a variety of airplanes on the southern end of the sprawling bomber base, will be deactivated. In its place will come a new unit with a bombers-only mission, the 307th Bomb Wing.
Wing spokeswoman Jessica d’Aurizio said, “We’re losing the A-10s to Whiteman (Air Force Base).” D’Aurizio also said, “They will still be here and we will support them but we are to focus on the bombers.”
Whiteman Air Force Base, in Missouri, falls like Barksdale under Air Force Global Strike Command and also has both a bomber and a fighter mission, but with B-2 Spirit bombers as companions to its A-10s.
The Jan. 8 standup of the 307th Wing at Hoban Hall on Barksdale will be presided over by Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner Jr., chief of the Air Force Reserve at U.S. Air Force headquarters and commander of the Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The commander of the unit will continue to be Col. John Mooney III, recently nominated for promotion to brigadier general.
Veterans of the 307th Wing during its service in prior decades have been invited to be at the ceremony.
“We have alumni from the 307th attending the ceremonies,” d’Aurizio said. “Some are from Korea and maybe World War II. It should be exciting.”
Under the new structure, the 307th Bomb Wing will operate only the B-52H Stratofortress, with the 93rd Bomb Squadron and the 907th Maintenance Group as its major units. The primary mission of the 93rd Bomb Squadron is to train B-52 aircrew to employ the B-52 in combat. The 307th Maintenance Group provides B-52 sortie production for the 340th Weapons Squadron and the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron. Another bomb squadron there is the 343rd Bomb Squadron, which has a joint mission with the active-duty wing on base, the 2nd Bomb Wing.
Reactivating the 307th will pump new life into a historic unit, transferring its legacy and honors to Barksdale.
The B52 Stratofortress has been chosen to be the Best of the Best Bomber of all time by the Military Channel!
Manufacturer: Boeing Military Airplane Company
Powerplant: Eight Pratt and Whitney Turbo Jet with 13,750 lb Thrust
Top Speed : 595 MPH
Payload: 70,000 LB
Range: 7,500 miles
When the B-52 entered into service, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) intended for it to be used to deter and counteract the vast and modernizing Soviet military. As the Soviet Union increased its nuclear capabilities, destroying or “countering” the forces that would deliver nuclear strikes (bombers, missiles, etc.) became of great strategic importance.
The Eisenhower administration endorsed this switch in focus; the President in 1954 expressing a preference for military targets over those of civilian ones, a principle reinforced in the Single Integrated Operation Plan (SIOP), a plan of action in the case of nuclear war breaking out.
Throughout the Cold War, B-52s performed airborne alert patrols under code names such as Head Start, Chrome Dome, Hard Head, Round Robin, and Giant Lance. Bombers loitered at high altitude near points outside the Soviet Union to provide rapid first strike or retaliation capability in case of nuclear war.
This was a part of the role of deterrence to the Sovier Union via the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.
The Pentagon says that Col. John J. Mooney III, commander of the 917th Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, has been nominated for promotion to the rank of brigadier general.
Mooney’s name is on a list of 15 Air Force officers nominated for promotion by President Barack Obama and issued Thursday, Dec. 16, by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The promotions are subject to approval by the Senate.
Mooney took command of the local Air Force Reserve wing in March.
He first came to Barksdale in August 1991 as a B-52 command evaluator with the 3909th Strategic Aircraft Evaluation Squadron, moving from that to a stint as senior B-52 radar navigator for the 8th Air Force, standardization and evaluation.
After work at Langley Air Force Base, he returned to Barksdale in mid-1994 as an instructor radar navigator with the 917th Wing standardization and evaluation.
After work at Air Force Reserve Command headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, he returned to Barksdale yet again in early 2004 as deputy commander and later as commander of the 917th Operations Group.
Named vice commander of the 917th Wing in January 2006, he moved that November to Fort Worth to serve as assistant vice commander and chief of staff of 10th Air Force, before returning in March for his current command posting.
A native of Maine, he was commissioned through the Air Force Officer Training School in October 1982 and spent 12 years on active duty before moving to the Air Force Reserve in 1994.
A 1977 education graduate of the University of Maine, he has almost 5,450 hours as a command navigator in the B-52 bomber.
The B-52 is one of the weapons employed by his wing, the other being the A-10 attack jet.
His major awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross; the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters; the Aerial Achievement Medal; the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster; and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor device, eight oak leaf clusters.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, strategic heavy bomber capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. The latest version, the B-52H, can carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.
Used for strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations, the bomber’s capabilities include:
- Carrying nuclear or precision-guided conventional ordnance, including gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions.
- Delivering approximately 70,000 pounds of mixed payload, both internally and on external pylons
- Combat range exceeding 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles) unrefueled — can be refueled aerially
- High subsonic speeds up to 650 miles per hour, or Mach 0.86
- Flying at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters)
- Low-altitude flight capability, augmented by its electro-optical viewing system
Watch the video to see what we are talking about:
The United States and Japan’s Self Defense Forces are demonstrating its capabilities in an eight-day joint exercise in the air, in the Sea of Japan and on land that demonstrates commitments to the Japan-U.S. Alliance.
Deploying from Andersen Airbase in Guam, the U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber, which for decades has served America with its nuclear and conventional ordnance, is involved in Exercise Keen Sword for the first time. The U.S. Navy’s USS George Washington nuclear powered aircraft strike group based at Yokosuka is involved, too, a move intended to signal North Korea that America will firmly support its allies, ignoring the Communist nation’s warnings that the exercise, as well as another exercise involving the South Korean military, are pressing the region closer to war.
For the first time, South Korea is participating in Keen Sword as an observer, now in its 10th iteration since initially being held in 1986. Exercise elements are being conducted at Japan Self Defense Force bases across the country, as well as at sea and in the air. A total of 34,000 SDF personnel, 40 ships and 250 aircraft are involved, along with roughly 10,000 U.S. military personnel, 20 ships and 150 aircraft. The exercise scenarios center on coping with mock attacks on Japan.
The exercise began earlier in the week, even as tensions rose on the Korean peninsula as South Korea announced a four-day exercise that includes firing artillery from 29 locations, including Yeongpyong Island, which was shelled by North Korea two weeks ago killing two civilians and two military personnel, while destroying dozens of homes and buildings. South Korea has military personnel on board a U.S. Navy Aegis ship, observing missile defense training.
The USS George Washington and Japan’s helicopter destroyer vessel, the Hyuga, are operating in waters off Okinawa and northward along the southwest coast from Kyushu. “By conducting exercises such as Keen Sword,” says Lt. Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of the U.S. 13th Air Force, “we are ensuring that our forces will continue to be effective in meeting challenges of the 21st century.” The SDF and U.S. units will coordinate actions to detect, track and intercept a ballistic missile aimed at Japan, while Air Self Defense Forces from Komatsu base in Ishikawa Prefecture are flying F-15’s to stage air-defense operations. U.S. F-16 aircraft are involved along with the B-52’s, which are simulating attacking mock enemy ships approaching Japan’s southwestern islands, including Okinawa.
The exercise is general in nature, says Japan’s Defense Minister. Toshimi Kitazawa says “naturally we take into consideration changes in the security environment in surrounding areas, but with this, we are not targeting a specific country.” Kitazawa says the drills will strengthen cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States.
- In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations.
- During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometers) of ocean surface.
- All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety, thus further improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability.
- The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
Paul Frye is no longer giving interior tours of the only B-52 bomber left in Central New York, which is located at the former Griffiss Air Base.
Frye is passionate about the plane, and is familiar with every inch of its 185 foot wingspan. He explains the bomber’s eight engines with a zeal that comes from experience. He was a former B-52 crew chief at Griffiss Air Base. Frey said, “I have a lot of respect and pride in this aircraft. I enjoy giving the tours.”
Now, Frye is part of the American Legion’s effort to educate people through daily tours. Up until Dec. 2, Thursday, Frye took visitors inside the fuselage and into the cockpit for a peek. He said, “I think they’ll miss a lot by not being able to go inside.”
Frye says external tours will continue. “It’s more or less the safety and preservation of the aircraft,” he explained.
To schedule a tour of the B-52, contact Paul Frye at 525-7550. He is also coordinating donations through the H.P. Smith Post 24 of the American Legion in Rome for upkeep of the plane.
On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, one of the first military pilots to fly around the world without stopping was laid to rest.
Retired Air Force Col. Foster “Bud” Warren, 85, was buried in his native Pembroke. Eight Air Force members of the 15th Pease Honor Guard were on hand to assist in the funeral.
Warren served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, flying B-17s and planes carrying live nuclear weapons. He earned recognition for flying a record number of hours.
“This is his actual airplane that he flew in the late 1950s, early 1960s and right on up until the early ’70s, probably,” said his daughter, Anne Murray, showing pictures of the aircraft he flew. “This was his B-52. This was his personal B-52.”
Warren was one of the first B-52 pilots to circumnavigate the world nonstop via in-air refueling.
“But I’ll remember him as being a great dad,” said his son, Anthony Warren.
Recently, Bud Warren traveled to swear in his grandson as a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy.
“Yeah, it definitely means a whole lot,” said his grandson, Spencer Warren. “I feel like it meant a lot to him, just seeing me take the same path he took.”
Over its long operational life, the B-52 has undergone an extensive series of retrofits and modernizations. As its role changed from high altitude bomber to low level penetrator, the additional stress of prolonged flight in turbulent air required a number of structural modifications to strengthen the airframe.
In a rapidly advancing technological environment, the Stratofortress has gone through several generations of electronic countermeasures systems, and the G- and H-model B-52s had dual chin turrets added housing low-light television and infrared sensors which allow precise navigation and bombing under any light conditions.
The Hound Dog standoff missile was supplanted in the early ‘70s by the AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM). In the ‘80s, large segments of the fleet were configured to carry the AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM).
Subsequent weapons upgrades added:
- the AGM-84 Harpoon
- the AGM-142 Have Nap
- the AGM-86B conventional warhead version of the ALCM
- the AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile
- the CBU- 87/89/97 family of cluster munitions
- the CBU-103-105 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers
- the GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munition
- the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon, and
- the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile to the BUF’s arsenal.
In addition, there have been significant improvements in both offensive and defensive avionics.