SOFIA, BULGARIA — Two US Army Boeing B-52 H Stratofortress strategic bombers conducted training missions over the cities of Haskovo and Kardzhali, Bulgaria, Obektivno,bg reported. For more than two hours, the planes flew in a circle over Southeastern Bulgaria.
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Residents of Haskovo commented on the circular marks in the sky from the bombers on social networks. The flights started around 11:40 a.m. and continued until 1:15 p.m. The bombers later headed to Romania, where one likely refueled the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker air tanker.
Data on the aircraft tracking site ADSB Exchange shows the bombers took off from an airport in Spain near Seville. After the mission in Bulgaria and Romania, they returned back to Spain.
The B-52 H Stratofortress are American nuclear-powered strategic bomber. More than 70 years old, the B-52 made its first flight in April 1952. Three years later, they were officially introduced to the general public and entered service with the US Air Force. Only the USA is the operator of this type of bomber, and apart from the military, NASA also has quantities of them.
A total of 744 B-52 bombers were built in various versions. Their production stopped in 1962. The B-52 H variant flying today over Bulgaria is the latest version developed by Boeing. With this version, the production of the bomber ends.
The B-52 H is powered by a TF33-P-3 turbofan engine. For the difference from the previous power units, the TF33-P-3 offers greater economy and greater performance. During its creation, the engine began to suffer from reliability problems. In 1964, however, these problems were fixed.
The B-52 H has state-of-the-art avionics that has been updated compared to previous designs. This variant of the B-52 also features a completely new fire control system.
In the rear of the bomber, where there is specialized defensive armament in previous versions, it was equipped with machine guns. The “H” version, however, offers a 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon. In the mid-1990s, this cannon was also removed.
The bomber has a crew of five, as follows: pilot, copilot, weapon systems officer, navigator, and electronic warfare officer. Its maximum takeoff weight is 488,000 lb [221,323 kg]. The wingspan of the bomber is 185 ft 0 in [56.4 m]. The bomber uses eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofans, 17,000 lbf [76 kN] thrust each.
The maximum speed is 650 mph [1,050 km/h, 560 kn], while the cruise speed:= is about 509 mph [819 km/h, 442 kn]. The B-52 has a combat range of 8,800 mi [14,200 km, 7,600 nmi]. B-52 carries out approximately 70,000 pounds [32,000 kg] of mixed ordnance; bombs, mines, and missiles, in various configurations.
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