The bomber has been able to carry guided weapons on its wing pylons for years but adding this capability in the bay increases the quantity and variety of B-52 weapons carriage.The option to fly the aircraft with no visible weapons on its wings, offers crew members greater mission flexibility to adapt to changing conditions on the ground.Clean wing also means that adversaries don’t know what weapons the B-52 is carrying.” Boeing engineers have created three prototypes for the new launcher, the first of which is now being tested. Military crews will continue field testing the new launcher prototypes at Edwards until March, when flight tests commence.
Boeing responded with two models powered by the T-35 turboprops.
The Model 464-16 was a "nuclear only" bomber with a 10,000 pound (4,500 kg) payload, while the Model 464-17 was a general purpose bomber with a 9,000 pound (4,000 kg) payload.
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.
Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later, more advanced aircraft, including the canceled Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealth B-2 Spirit.
The B-52 completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015.The aircraft was to have a crew of five or more turret gunners, and a six-man relief crew.It was required to cruise at 300 mph (260 knots, 480 km/h) at 34,000 feet (10,400 m) with a combat radius of 5,000 miles (4,300 nautical miles, 8,000 km).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).The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was disestablished in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC); in 2010 all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).Cornerstone “This upgrade allows us to provide better close air support for army personnel on the ground and future increments improve our strategic attack capability, a cornerstone of the B-52.