BUFF, or B-52 as it is formally known, is a 390,000-pound behemoth that has served this country well in the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and in Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and, the list goes on.
What’s so special about the B-52 and how has it remained operationally relevant for 62 years? The B-52 offers superior performance at high subsonic speeds and comparatively low operating costs. Key among its many upgrades are integrated digital interphone, and increased capacity for expanded voice and data communications. Most recently, the B-52 has been upgraded with CONECT, or Combat Network Communications Technology. The first of the newly CONECTed B-52s was recently delivered to the U.S. Air Force.
With CONECT, the B-52 can now change a mission and/or a weapon target in flight. Additional communication data links, full-color LCD displays along with real time intelligence feeds overlaid on moving maps provide the crew with improved situational awareness. Now the B-52 enters the digital age with modern day technology that allows for even more improvements. The CONECTed B-52 provides greater safety for the men and women who fly the aircraft.
The B-52 is expected to remain in service into the 2040s, which says a lot for an aircraft that took its maiden flight in 1952.