CENTCOM deploys B-52 bombers against ISIL

Special to WorldTribune.com

The United States has deployed B-52 bombers to join the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

In the first use of the Cold War-era bombers in the Middle East since the war in Afghanistan in 2006, the U.S. Air Force said the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft arrived in Qatar on April 9.

U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 9, 2016 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation against the Islamic State. /Corey Hook/U.S. Air Force
B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on April 9. /Corey Hook/USAF

With a top speed of around 650 miles per hour, range of about 8,800 miles and capacity to hold roughly 70,000 pounds of nuclear and conventional bombs, mines and missiles, the Air Force said the B-52 is capable of carrying out a variety of missions, including strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction and maritime operations.

The Air Force did not say how many of the bombers had been deployed.

“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired air power effects,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of U.S. Air Force’s Central Command (CENTCOM).

The B-52s will provide “flexibility and endurance” in the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Brown said.

“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on (ISIL) and defend the region in any future contingency.”

The B-52, originally developed to carry nuclear weapons, been adapted over the years and has been used in missions in the Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf War and in Afghanistan.

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