Although the prototype B-52 first flew in October of 1952, America's defense still relies heavily on the B-52 "Stratofortress." From 1959 to 1968, the 5th Bombardment Wing flew B-52Gs from Travis Air Force Base.
Our B-52 is a "D" model that picked up the nickname "Twilight D'Lite" during her career. The 170 "D" models built rolled off Boeing's Wichita, KS, assembly line.
The B-52D played a major role in the airwar over Vietnam. Flying bombing missions in support of our ground forces, the B-52s flew from bases in Guam and Thailand. They bombed the enemy's major industrial and transportation centers in support of American ground forces. Well known B-52 operations include the "Arc Light" and "Linebacker 11" bombing strikes against industrial targets in Hanoi and Haiphong.
The "Stratofortress" was able to deliver 108 500 lb. bombs or the AGM-28 "Hound Dog" air to surface missile. They were also equipped with the ADM-20 "Quail" decoy missile which was used to confuse enemy anti-aircraft defenses.
Video narration by Dr. David G. Styles, PhD
Video produced by Kim Bolan
During the Vietnam War, our B-52D bombed North Vietnamese targets as a member of the 92nd and 307th Strategic Bombardment Wings. Both bomb wings flew from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam and U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand.
The United States Air Force retired our B-52D in March of 1983. This ended "Twilite D'Lite's” 26 year career that began on 8 November 1957 when she was delivered to the Strategic Air Command's 28th Bomb Wing, based at Ellsworth AFB, SD. This also signaled the end of bombers equipped with a manned tail gunner position; in subsequent models, the gunner was moved into the cockpit crew area where he controls the radar operated tail guns.
"Twilight D'Lite" last saw operational duty with the 7th Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command, Carswell AFB, TX. She flew to the Travis Heritage Center in August of 1983.
- Wing Span: 185 ft. 0 in.
- Length: 156 ft. 7 in.
- Height: 48 ft. 4 in.
- Weight: 450,000 lbs. maximum takeoff weight
- Armament: Four .50-cal. M-3 machine guns in the tail barbette and up to 60,000 lbs. of bombs
- Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-19W turbojets of 10,500 lbs. thrust each.dry, 12,100 lbs. Thrust each wet (water injection)
- Crew: 6 - Pilot, Copilot, Electronic Warfare Officer, Navigator, Bombardier-Radar Navigator, Tail Gunner
- Maximum speed: 638 mph/551 knots at 20,000 ft.
- Cruising speed: 526 mph.
- Range: 3,305 nautical miles combat radius at combat weight of 293,100 lbs. (without in-flight refueling); 8,338 miles max. ferry range
- Service Ceiling: 46,200 ft. at combat weight of 293,100 lbs.
Information derived from “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico copyright Travis AFB Historical Society/Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation. This book is available from the Travis Heritage Center gift shop..