The B-52, first launched in 1954, can carry munitions ranging from laser-guided bombs to nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The bomber itself weighs 185,000 lbs., and when loaded with jet fuel and its deadly cargo, rolls down the tarmac at 488,000 lbs.
The B-52, considered one of the most devastating weapons in military history, can fly 8,800 miles without refueling, cruising at 50,000 feet with a top speed of 650 mph. The Stratofortress first flew in 1954, and the last new one was built in 1962.
Boeing reports that modern engineering has enabled B-52s to be safe to fly “into the 2040s,” so it won’t take much of an extension for there to be a B-52 in service a century after the planes first took to the skies.
source: maxim.com by DAN CARNEY