The B-52 Stratofortress

(A half assed attempt at photo coverage of a great bomber)

Click the photos for larger images.


NB-52A 52-0003 which was used by NASA for many drop tests, but is usually best remembered as the X-15 "Mother ship".  (NASA)
This aircraft was stored at MASDC (now AMARG)  for  many years before being placed on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  The second photo is of "Balls Three" at MASDC in 1978 and the third shows her on display at Pima in 2005.



    The first panel shows NB-52A 52-0003 which was used by NASA for many drop tests, but is usually best remembered as the X-15 "Mother ship".  (NASA)
    This aircraft was stored at MASDC (now AMARG)  for  many years before being placed on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  The second photo is of -003 at MASDC in 1978 and the third shows her on display at Pima in 2005.
    The second panel shows drop markings, photo resolution panel and  camera mods.
    The final panel shows the X-15 cradle and a notch in the right wing to allow for the tail of the X-15.

X-15A-2 56-6671 X-15A mockup Dryden Center Edwards AFB

    A couple of X-15 photos to accompany the above photos.  56-6671 is an X-15A-2 on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  The aircraft labeled as 56-6672 is actually a full scale mock up on display at the NASA Dryden Center located at Edwards AFB.  The actual 6672 was destroyed in a fatal crash in 1967.


B-52B 52-0005 on display at the Wings Over The
                Rockies air museum

B-52B 52-0005 on display at the Wings Over The Rockies air museum in June, 2005 and in August, 2008.

NB-52B 52-0008 NASA NB-52B 52-0008 X-15 mother ship

NB-52B 52-0008 at Edwards AFB.  This was the replacement for -0003 and itself was eventually replaced with a B-52H.  That aircraft was also retired about 2010. (unknown)
The three other photos show "Balls Eight" as displayed at the north gate of Edwards AFB in November, 2014.

RB-52B 52-0013 RB-52B 52-8711

RB-52B 52-0013 at the National Atomic Museum, Kirtland AFB, 2000.  This airplane had served with the Air Force Special Weapons Center (AFSWC) for many years.  In April of 2009 the museum moved to a new location just off base and became the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.  Moving the outside exhibit is a major effort and as of late April the B-52 was still awaiting re-assembly.
RB-52B 52-8711 at the old SAC Museum, Bellevue NE, 1992.  When this photo was taken in August, 2007 the aircraft had been moved inside at the new Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska where she is finally receiving some well earned TLC.  At one time she was repainted in a spurious SIOP scheme, which still shows through the top color.


B-52B 53-0380 Ciudad Juarez B-52B 53-0380 Ciudad Juarez


 B-52B 53-380 ("Ciudad Juarez") of the 95th BW.  This aircraft was accidentally shot down by a 188th TFS (New Mexico Air National Guard) F-100A on April 7, 1961, with the loss of three lives.  Hard to believe, but an AIM-9 Sidewinder is capable of downing even such a large aircraft. (John Paul Jones)

City of El Paso 95th BW City of El Paso

B-52B 53-388  95th BW.  This is the first "City of El Paso".  Photo and the one above date from 1959.
Note the MD-5 fire control system with twin 20mm cannons rather than the A-3A system with quad .50 cal machine guns. (JohnPaulJones)  

B-52B 53-394 95th BW.  This was the second "City of El Paso".  It was delivered to the USAFM only to be scrapped in the late '80s. (unknown)
This photo is from a "year book" on the 95th BW.  Note the unnecessary censoring of the aircraft serial number.  Hope the censor suffered a couple of months of constipation. (USAF)


B-52C 54-2677 at MASDC 1979

B-52C 54-2671, 99th BW.  MASDC 1979.
Tail of the a/c to the left.  See the "winged 8" (for the 8th AF) on the tail?  MASDC 1979.
B-52C 54-2672 last served with the 509th BW before being placed in storage at MASDC in 1971.  This BUFF also carries a winged 2.
B-52C 54-2677 at MASDC in 1979.

B-52C 54-2687 at MASDC in June of 1979.  This aircraft wears a very worn SIOP scheme.

B-52C 54-2688 at MASDC in February 1980. 


Lone Star Lady

The SEA scheme with a black belly and tail was unique to the B-52D.  The first three photos are of 55-0067 displayed at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  It was placed on display shortly after the last B-52Ds were retired in 1983.
The last photo is of 55-0068 on display at Lackland AFB.  This photo was taken in 2000.

55-0083 is displayed at the United States Air Force Academy as a tribute to the crews that have flown the B-52 in combat.  "0083" is one of two B-52s credited with air-to-air kills of MiG-21s.

B-52D 56-0585

55-0679 is shown on display at the March Field Air Museum at March ARB in March, 2007.  This B-52D last served as an instructional airframe with the 22nd BW.
The Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB has B-52D 56-0585 on display, photographed in November, 2014.  Unfortunately as of August, 2015 this aircraft is in the process of being scrapped.  It will be replaced by "Balls 8", which is currently displayed outside the North gate at Edwards.
The Castle Air Museum displays 56-0612.  Shown here in 1989.
56-0617 was a guest at the Holloman AFB open house in 1979.

B-52D 56-0620 AFSWC

Before being placed in storage at MASDC  56-0620 had served with the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB.  She had been in retirement for several years when this photo was taken in 1978.
Formerly with the 96th BW, 56-0626 is shown at MASDC in 1978.
The scale of this hangar is evident where The National Museum of the United States Air Force displays 56-0665 indoors in this 2011 photo.

B-52D 56-679 Yellow Rose

56-0678 is shown shortly after arrival at MASDC in 1978.  One of the last of the Connies (C-121) is in the background.
Yellow Rose
, 56-0679 is on display at Carswell AFB in 1981.  Within two years she would be flown to MASDC and placed in storage.
The Orlando International Airport has 56-0687 on permanent display.  The Orlando airport was the former site of McCoy AFB, hence the IATA code for Orlando is MCO.

56-0695 at the Tinker AFB
                              Airpark 2003

Along with numerous other aircraft, 56-0695 is displayed at the Airpark just outside the gates to Tinker AFB.  She is shown here on a hot, sticky day in July, 2003.


Biggs AFB 1959 Walker AFB 1960s
6th BW B-52E 56-0634 at an airshow, Biggs AFB.  Probably about 1960.  (I wonder if I am the little brat running into the photo?) (John Paul Jones)
6th BW B-52E 56-0640, landing at Walker AFB, about 1965.  When the 6th BW flew B-29s and B-36s they used a stylized "Pirate head" emblem on the right side of the aircraft nose.  The emblem applied to the B-52s was more in line with the official patch. (USAF)

NB-52E 56-0632 was modified into the CCV "Control Configured Vehicles". 

B-52F 57-0035 at MASDC in 1978 B-52F 57-0038 displayed at Joe Davies Park
                  Palmdale, CA
B-52F 57-0038 displayed at the Joe Davies Park in
                  Palmdale, CA

57-0035 is shown at MASDC in 1979.   This color scheme is known as SIOP and consists of  two greens (FS595A 34079 and 34159) and a tan (34201) over gloss white.  This scheme was used on all B-52s still in service by the late 60s with the exception of the B-52D.
57-0038 in 2003.  This B-52F  had been on display at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds for decades, but in 2006 she was removed and transported to the Joe Davis Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California.

Acres of B-52Fs at MASDC in 1979.  Note the variations in colors though many are in the same scheme.
57-0060 in the classic silver over white.

B-52F 57-0139 (93d BW?)   MASDC 1980.
B-52F 57-0183 AFSWC .  This was the replacement for 52-0013 (top of page).  MASDC 1979.

Short tailed BUFFs


B-52G after landing at Biggs AAF in 1989.

Over the years B-52s would return to Biggs Field for deployments.  In 1989 the 416th BW from Griffiss AFB was deployed for about two weeks.  57-6516 is rolling out after landing at Biggs.

The B-52G fleet was retired after Desert Storm, making some airframes available to museums.  The Pima Air & Space museum acquired 58-0183.  When '183" went into storage at AMARG she was still sporting artwork.  Over the years the museum has met the challenge of maintaining that art.

The nose section of 58-0232 is on display at the Hangar 25 Museum in Big Spring, Texas.  Big Spring was the home of Webb AFB.  For some time I had misidentified this aircraft as a B-52H.

B-52G 59-2857 Stratofortress Rex
Stratofortress Rex

Nose art made a comeback during the 1980s and some of it was rather imaginative.  This is B-52G 59-2587 Stratofortress Rex of the 93rd BW at Castle ASB in August, 1989.


59-2589 at the Davis-Monthan open house in 1987.

B-52G 59-2592 was with the 319th BW when photographed at Offutt AFB in July, 1981.  She is shown again going into storage at AMARC in 1993 after serving with the 2nd BW during Desert Storm.

During the 1980s the B-52G fleet was tasked with the ALCM mission.  In an agreement with the Soviet Union those 98 aircraft modified to carry cruise missiles received a fairing on the leading edge of the wing root.  This would make them identifiable in satellite photos  The curved fairing can be seen in this photo.


B-52H 60-0060
                    at Biggs AAF in 1981

B-52H 60-0060 of the 5th BW at Biggs AAF during a "Bare Base" excersise in 1982.

B-52H 60-0052 at Carswell

60-0052 among other B-52s at Carswell AFB in 1985.

60-0054 on final at Carswell in March, 1988.  At the time the 7th Bomb Wing used a long horn marking on the tail of their B-52Hs and KC-135s.
61-0005 of the 7th BW in August, 1985.  This is about the same spot B-52D 56-0679 was parked at when photographed in 1981.
61-0023 at Carswell in 1984.

Current estimates assume that the B-52H will possibly remain in service until 2040.  60-0059 named The Devil's Own was on display at the Dyess AFB open house in May, 2006.  Maybe she will be there again for several decades.

The current overall gray scheme (FS595B 36118)  is shown on B-52H 61-0031 (Destination Unknown) at the 2003  Davis-Monthan Open House.

During 1983 the 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell AFB lost the venerable B-52Ds to "newer" B-52Hs.  B-52H 61-0035 leads a line of B-52Ds.

Photos are mine unless otherwise noted.


From 1964 until 1985 the aircraft storage area at Davis-Monthan AFB was called the "Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center", or MASDC, usually pronounced as "Mazdik".  It then became the "Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center" (AMARC), commonly called "A-Mark". In 2007 that became the "Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group" (AMARG).

Various models of B-52s in storage during 1978.  1st in line is NB-52A 52-0003, which is now displayed at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  B-52Bs (and RB-52Bs) had been retired by mid 1966, the 95th BW loosing theirs in June of that year.  The B-52E followed in 1970 and the B-52Cs the following year. The B-52Fs were retired by the end of 1978.  The B-52D held out until 1984, but it finally too was retired leaving NASA's NB-52B, 52-0008 as the sole "Tall Tailed" B-52 in operation.

B-52Ds began to arrive in large numbers in the late 1970's and were parked among various other types where space was available.

The end of the road.  MASDC 1980.  Cutting up B-52s is nothing new.  At first landing gear and engines were removed, with the aircraft sitting on their bellies and then slowly cannibalized.  Quite often other aircraft mixed in among them: T-33s, RF-101Fs and even a Pennsylvania TF-102.

With the retirement of the B-52G fleet it did not take too long before they too were being salvaged.   

58-0249 in the process of being turned into scrap at AMARG in June, 2007.  Fortunately, the artwork removed is now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

B-52D 56-0662 at Carswell AFB in August, 1984.
Blown-up B-52D

    B-52Ds 56-0662, 0680 and 688 at Carswell AFB in 1985 after having been destroyed in compliance with the START Treaty.  These forlorn BUFFs remained in this location for several months while Soviet satellites verified they were indeed dead.

As the B-52G was destroyed an effort was made to preserve some of the art work with the majority preserved at the National Museum of the USAF.
Some art is also preserved at Pima, like Hoosier Hot Shot, B-52G 57-6486.
Surprise Attack is from 58-0162 and is at Pima also.
The NMUSAF has a great nose art display in the Cold War Hangar. Whats Up Doc 58-0182.
58-0207 was christened The City of Merced when assigned to the 93rd BW.  This art work has suffered from several years of exposure at AMARC before being placed on display inside at Pima.
Damage Inc is from 58-0254 and is now safely out of the elements at the NMUSAF.

BUFF Parts

Tail Positions/Guns

    Tail armament evolved throughout the production of the B-52.  The system used for the three B-52As, seventeen of the B/RB-52Bs and all but the final B-52C was the A-3A Fire Control system that controlled four M3 .50 caliber machine guns.  The other thirty three B/RB-52Bs used The MD-5 Fire Control System, with a pair of M-24A-1 20mm cannons.  The last B-52C (54-2688) introduced the MD-9 FCS which reverted to four .50 cals.   This latter system was used through the B-52F.  With all tall tailed BUFFs the tail gunner was in the tail separated from the rest of the crew.   This changed with the B-52G, when the gunner was moved forward with the rest of the flight crew.  The G still carried the four MG armament, but used the AN/ASG-15 FCS.  With the B-52H the "fifty cals" were replaced with a six barreled M61 "Vulcan" 20mm cannon controlled through the AN/ASG-21 FCS.  By the 1990s the guns had been removed to make way for various ECM equipment.


   The first photo in the above panel shows the A-3A FCS and tail gun position as carried by the B-52A, 17 of the B/RB-52Bs (serials 54-004/013, 53-392/398) and all but one B-52C.

    The second, third and fourth photos show the MD-5 FCS and 20mm guns used on most RB/B-52B aircraft.

B-52D MD-9 FCS

    This set of panels shows the MD-9 FCS used on the last B-52C and all B-52D/E/F airframes.

B-52G tail gun

    The tail shot of a B-52G illustrates the AN/ASG-15 FCS and quad .50 guns.  The tail is noticeably different now that the gunner has been moved forward with the rest of the crew.  During the 1970s Phase VI ECM upgrades added a 40 inch plug aft of the stabilizers.

    The profile of the B-52H tail changed even more with the AN/ASG-21 FCS and the M61 Vulcan.

    During 1991 the Vulcan was removed as was the gunner.

Engine nacelles

Early J-57 powered B-52s (A, B, C, D and E)

(YJ-57-P-3, J-57-P-1, -1W, -1WA, -1WB, -19-W, -29W and -29WA engines.)   

The earlier J-57 powered B-52s featured a very smooth nacelle, with few protrusions or openings.

B-52A - B-52D engine pod

The photos in this panel show a B-52B circa 1959 and three photos of the B-52D on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum taken in 2007.

These five photos show the nacelle of an RB-52B (52-8711) taken at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashton, NE.  The first two photos show the opening for the air driven alternator in the center of the engine. (2007)

Later J-57 powered B-52s (F and G)

(J-57-P-43-W and -43-WB engines.)

The later J-57 powered variants had a bulge on the left side of each nacelle that housed a hard driven generator.

B-52G intakes

TF-33 Powered B-52Hs

(TF-33-P-3 and P-103)

B-52H TF-33 intake

The above photos are of Pima's B-52G 58-0183. (2007)

Landing gear

Main gear and wheel wells

These photos do not do justice to the complexity of the B-52 wheel wells, but they do give a hint.  The above photos were taken of the B-52D on display at Pima and everything in the wells have a thorough coating of dust.

The above photos were taken inside the wells of a B-52H at Dyess AFB in May, 2006.  Even though much cleaner, they still show years of use.

The main gear was similar on all B-52 types.  The gear itself was usually either painted silver, or white.

Outriggers (or more correctly Tip Gear)

I had always referred to these as "outriggers", but was recently corrected by a BUFF crewman who stated that when he crewed B-52s they were called Tip Gear.

The Bomb bay

RB-52B 52-8711

RB-52B bomb bay RB-52B bomb bay doors
RB-52B bomb bay

These photos illustrate the 1960s vintage B-52 bomb bay.  RB-52B 52-8711 is preserved at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.  The views are: forward, bay door looking forward and the view aft.  (2007)

B-52H 60-0059

The whole purpose of the B-52 was to carry bombs and most were carried internally.  This B-52H has been modified with a rotary launcher to field such weapons as ALCMs, JDAMs and JSOWs.


This series of photos illustrates the flaps on a B-52H.

During 2005 Pima refurbished fiberglass radomes and other parts of various airplanes.  Their B-52G received some nose work at that time.

External Fuel Tanks

B-52B and RB-52B aircraft

RB-52B external tank

The initial drop tanks were rather small on the B-52B and RB-52Bs, carrying 1,000 gallons of fuel.

B-52C, B-52D, B-52E and B-52F aircraft

B-52D wing tanks B-52D wing tank

The B-52C, D, E and F versions had a larger tank, of 3,000 gallon capacity.

B-52G and B-52H aircraft

B-52G and H

B-52G and H Stratoforts had a wet wing and therefore did not need as large of external tanks.  The tanks on these versions are similar to the tanks on the earliest versions, but carrying only 700 gallons and being permanently attached.


B-52D simulators instrument panel
B-52D left console
B-52D right console

These photos show the interior of the B-52 crew trainer on display at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.  While BUFFs would change over the years they do give a good idea of the B-52 cockpit layout.

B-52D overhead console B-52D center console
B-52D aircraft commander seat

These photos are also from the same simulator.  The first shot shows the overhead panel mainly comprised of circuit breakers.  The second picture shows the center console and throttles, with the instrument panel as a background.  The main gear "crabbing" control is the prominent dial in the lower center.  The last photo is of the aircraft commanders seat.

B-52G instrument panel B-52G left console
B-52G right console
B-52G overhead panel
B-52G center console

These photos are of the interior of B-52G 58-0232 on display at the Hangar 25 Museum in Big Spring, Texas.  This aircraft was used as a trainer at Goodfellow AFB before going to the museum.  The interior is well worn and many items are missing.

These views show some areas buried behind the cockpit.  The first view is looking forward towards the cockpit.  The second view is looking aft towards the EWo and Gunner position.  The third view is of the Navigator and Radar Navigator position below the cockpit.

Noses and Tails

B-52D nose
B-52G nose

The nose of the B-52 remained very similar from the A model until the F.  With the introduction of the B52G the nose changed slightly on it and the H.  The difference became more noticeable with the addition of EVS and other systems.

B-52D tail B-52G tail

The original tail design gave the BUFF and overall height of 48' 3".  This was the tall Tail as used on the B-52A through B-52F.  The tail on the B-52G and H was shortened by almost eight feet giving them a height of 40' 8"/


    As the purpose of the B-52 was to put bombs upon enemies it would be remiss to not include the weapons carried by the BUFF.  The Stratofortress has carried a wide variety of stores.  This section will try to cover those weapons carried by the B-52.

    When pylons were not fitted to the aircraft the area where they would be mounted was covered by fairings.  The last photo shows the fairing removed and the brackets where the pylon would attach.

    The under wing pylons were designed to carry conventional ordnance and that proved handy in Viet Nam.  A couple of MERs were attached to each pylon allowing the carriage of twelve bombs per pylon.  The original pylons were designed to carry Hound Dog missiles, but as those were in demand for SAC units standing alert a shorter pylon was developed.  A Heavy Stores Adapter Beam (HSAB) was attached to the short pylons carry ordnance.  Supposedly the pylons attached to Hound Dog missiles were assigned to individual airframes.

Nuclear Weapons

                      6 atom bomb Mark
                      15 Thermonuclear bomb
Mark 5
Mark 6
Mark 15
Mark 17
Mark 28 Internal Mark 28RI Mark 36 Thermo nuclear bomb
Mark 28IN
Mark 28RI
Mark 36
Mark 39
Mark 53

As illustrated by the above photos the B-52 was capable of carrying a wide range of nuclear weapons.  In most cases the BUFF could carry several of any type.  In the case of the Mk 17 however that was limited to one due to the shear size of the bomb.  A more detailed guide to nuclear weapons can be found on a page devoted to free fall Nukes.

Mark 53 thrmonuclear bomb b-52b
Mark 53 Thermonuclear weapon in B-52b bomb bay

Mark 53 under the B-52B on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, in Albuquerque,NM. The left bomb bay door has been removed. This was not necessary to load the weapon as the door folded flush with the fuselage. It is removed purely for display purposes.
Conventional munitions

Mark 117 750 lbs bomb
Mk 81 250 lbs bomb
Mk 82 500 lbs bomb
Mk 82 "Ballute"
Mk 117 750 lbs bomb
Mk 81 250 lbs bomb
Mk 82 500 lbs bomb low drag
Mk 82 500lbs bomb Retarded ("Ballute")
Mark 82 "Snake eye"
Mk 84 2,000 lbs bomb GBU-31 JDAM
Mk 82 500 lbs  bomb ("Snake-eye")
Mk 84 2,000 lbs bomb
GBU-31 JDAM (2,000 lbs)
GBU-32 JDAM (1,000 lbs)
GBU-38 JDAM (500 lbs)

Mk 20 "Rockeye"

Stand off weapons

    The AGM-28 Hound Dog was developed in the late 1950s to serve the role of an air launched cruise missile.  It enjoyed a fairly successful life and was not removed from the inventory until 1978.  The only B-52 models not modified to carry the Hound Dog were the B-52B and RB-52B aicraft, all other models would carry the missile in time.  The Hound Dog carried a W-28 thermonuclear variable yield warhead of  500 kiloton to 4 megaton.  The Hound Dog was powered by a Pratt & Whitney J-52 engine.  One advantage of  using a jet was that the missile could be fueled from the carrying B-52.  A pair of Hound Dogs could also be used to provide additional power in high max gross takeoff conditions.


    The AGM-69 SRAM (Short Range Attack Missile) was developed to provide bombers with an attack capability after the cancellation of the Skybolt program.  The SRAM is able to deliver a W-69 warhead of 200 kt yield out 100 miles.  The B-52, FB-111A, B-1B and B-2A are all capable of carrying the SRAM.


    The AGM-69 ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile) and CALCM (Conventional
Air Launched Cruise Missile) were another weapon designed for carry by bombers.  The AGM-69B ALCM (left) and AGM-69C CALCM (right) illustrate the weapon with wings extended and wings folded.  The AGM-69Cs are attached to a rotary launcher carried by B-1Bs. In the nuclear role the ALCM is fitted with a W-80 thermonuclear warhead of 200 kt yield.   The CALCM carries a conventional warhead.  The B-52H is able to carry twelve on each pylon and eight in the bomb bay on a rotary launcher for a total of twenty.


    The AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile has a lower radar signature than the ALCM does.  Like the AGM-69 it is powered by a turbo fan engine and can carry the W-80 warhead.

AGM-84 Harpoon

    Originally developed for the Navy the AGM-84 Harpoon was later adapted for use by the B-52.

    While not a weapon, the ADM-20 Quail was concevied to be carried in the bomb bay of the B-52.  Its purpose was to provide a decoy image on Soviet radar allowing the B-52 to reach its objective.  A B-52 could carry four Quails as well as a reduced bomb load.  However, the ADM-20 became ineffective by the early 70's and was removed from service.

D-21B Drone

    The B-52 was capable of carrying the D-21 drone, though it was not common.  In fact it appears that very few missions were actually carried out (probably no more than five) under a program called Senior Bowl.

BUFF Colors

     Early B-52s left the factory in a natural metal finish.  The lettiring on the forward fuselage was a small "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE" in Insignia Blue (FS 15044).  Radomes were black  and the SAC "Milky Way" band was not carried.  With the B-52C  the white "Anti-Flash" belly was introduced along with a larger "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the forward section.  The SAC band was added and on most aircraft the lower nose radome was painted an off white.  The B-52B and RB-52B received this scheme as they were cycled through depot maintenance, though on some RB-52Bs the SAC band was applied aft of the wing.  All subsequent B-52s would receive the silver over white scheme at the factory, which would remain in effect until camouflage made an appearance in the 1960s.  Some  silver B-52s in later life appear to be sprayed silver rather than a natural metal finish.

B-52 markings B-52 markings table
    This page out of T.O. 1-1-4 EXTERIOR FINISHES, INSIGNIA AND MARKINGS APPLICABLE TO USAF AIRCRAFT shows an Arctic B-52 scheme that while probably never carried on any BUFF does give reference to the placement of markings.

B-52 SIOP pattern from TO 1-1-4 B-52 SEA scheme from TO 1-1-4
    The first B-52s to gain camo were some B-52Es that served in South East Asia.  They received a coat of black paint sprayed over the white bellies to make them less visible from below at night.  During the mid 1960s two schemes were created.  What is usually referred to as the SIOP scheme was used on all B-52s remaining in service while the B-52Ds were painted is a scheme that is often called SEA, though it differed in colors from the TAC SEA scheme and only differed from the SIOP scheme is using black on the underside instead of white and having a black vertical tail.  The colors for the SIOP scheme were Tan (FS 34201), Dark Green (34079), SAC Green (34159) and White (17875).  As mentioned the SEA only differed in using Black instead of White.

The SIOP scheme was used on B-52C/E/F/G/H aircraft.
The SEA scheme was only used on the B-52D.

B-52 SIOP mod

    By the 1980s only the B-52D/G/H aircraft were left in service.  During the early 1980s SAC felt that the big white nose on SIOP BUFFs was just to conspicuous, so the nose area was painted in Gray (36081).  This was an interim scheme until a new one was developed.   The remainder of the B-52D fleet was retired in 1983 and no changes were made to the SEA scheme.

    A new scheme came around for the B-52G/H fleets in the early 1980s and included a pattern for the lower surface as well as the top.  The top pattern consited of Green (34086) and Euro One Gray (36081), the lower Euro One Gray (36081) and Gunship Gray (36118).  This scheme was replaced by the current overall gray though some B-52Gs were retired in the early 1990s still in this pattern.

Current B-52 camo

    By the late 1980s a single color scheme was fielded.  Initially overall Euro One Gray (36081) was used, but by 1992 the shade was changed to the slightly lighter Gunship Gray (36118).  This is the current (2017) scheme, but as long as the Stratofortress is expected to stay in service it might not be the last.  While not as appealing as the Silver/White scheme it is preferable to the 1980s scheme.

KC-135A passing gas

And the B-52's replacement is!


Oops, that did not happen.

Okay, okay, this is it!

B-1B bombers in storage.

Oh no, not that either.

Wait, wait, here it is!

FB-111A 68-0510 Sleepy Time Gal

Well, maybe not after all.

Well.  This will do the trick!

B-2A 90-0040 at Holloman Air Force Base 1995
Guess that remains to be seen.

In reality none of the bombers above were really meant as a replacement for the BUFF.  The B-70 program was envisioned to be the bomber of the future, but early in its developement it was realized that a high altitude bomber was no longer viable.

The B-1 was to supplant the B-52 until the Stealth Bomber came into being.

The FB-111 was spawned during Robert S. McNamara's reign of goofiness and though a good strike aircraft it was never meant as a serious B-52 replacement..

The B-2 has not been built in the numbers needed to replace the B-52, but it is a system that provides capability well beyond its numbers.  Time alone will see the end to the B-52's service life.

B-52 memorial at USAFA

This memorial at the United States Air Force Academy is dedicated to the B-52 and the crews that have flown her through the years.

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Clifford Bossie
Page created 12-04-01
Modified 01-18-20

A note on the photographs:  The majority of photos used on this site are mine.  And a majority of those were taken as slides.  I started using ASA 25 Kodachrome, but due to availability problems I sometimes substituted ASA 64.  As time went by and family responsibilities took priority I shot fewer photos.  Over time Kodachrome became more difficult to purchase and the a fore mentioned responsibilities came first I could not order Kodachrome in bulk.  I was then forced to buy Elitechrome, which was just a fancy name for Ecktachrome, which is a fancy name for "crap".  Over time I have been able to scan many slides to digital, which is part of the reason for the photo overload on this page.  After scanning hundreds of slides all I can say is "Thank God for digital cameras!"