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Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:33 am

Hi, I haven't got a clue about military aviation whatsoever, and this is my first post here.

I have a question: why on earth are B52s sent from Louisiana to Iraq, drop a few bombs and then fly back?? What's the point for those ultra-long flights? Couldn't they be based somewhere closer? There are plenty of bases in Europe or there's Diego Garcia, let alone Qatar which is closer. So why send them in from Louisiana?
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RE: Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:12 am


If they only need them for a few missions, it's a lot easier to just fly them non-stop (with aerial tanking) than it is to move their entire support system.

Anyhow, the main outlying bases for the B-52 that are pre-prepped are Diego Garcia and Guam, but also, sometimes the pilots want to be home after they're done.  Big grin
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RE: Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:55 am

Diego GArcia is roughly 3200 miles from the middle of Irag, Guam 6600 miles, and BArksdale AFB is over 8000 miles. I would think that they could take one set of support equipment to Diego Garcia and then rotate squadrons like every 2 months or so. That way I think they would save a major, major amount on fuel. If you take into account the refueling flights and all of the other support they are putting some REAL BIG BIG BUCKS into just a 2 or 3 plane mission. Logistics and fuel are awesomely expensive!!

[Edited 2004-12-15 02:57:27]

[Edited 2004-12-15 02:58:03]
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RE: Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:27 am

Very simply put.................

Force projection. Which is the ability to use force anytime and anyplace. It sends a very strong message.
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RE: Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:13 pm

The B-52s that flew from Barksdale AFB carried CALCMs, which are unique weapons in the inventory. They made the long trip for many of the same reasons B-2s make the trip from MO - because you don't have to worry about non-US personnel, friendly or otherwise, taking pictures or snooping around.

Plus, I think there are treaty restrictions on the placement of nuclear capable cruise missiles outside national borders.
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RE: Why Ultra-long Range Bomber Flights?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:55 pm

Was there a series of missions from Barksdale, or are you referring only to the strikes on the opening night of Desert Storm? Those were carried out by seven B-52Gs firing a total of 35 cruise missiles. I'm not at all sure, but there may have been issues (in 1990/91, before later modifications) with the "H" model employing conventional versions of the AGM-86. Adding to N328KF's point, any deployment would likely also have to have included support for the missiles, so it may just have been simpler to launch from and recover at home. ("Simpler" being a relative term. It can't be fun spending 35 hours in any plane, much less a combat aircraft!)

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