INSIDE LOOK: B-52 Stratobomber at Edwards Air Force Base

Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 22:48:17-04

23ABC spent the day at Edwards Air Force Base just south of California City to check out the B-52 Stratobomber and watch personnel use an inspection drone to check on external parts of the plane.

Click on parts of the B-52 below to learn more about the plane and see the footage from the inspection drone.


The B-52 is one of the most lethal bombers. The B-52A first flew in 1954 and the B model entered service in 1955.

A total of 744 B-52s were built.

The following are general characteristics of the B-52 from the U.S. Air Force website:

  • Primary function: heavy bomber
  • Contractor: Boeing Military Airplane Co.
  • Power plant: eight Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103 turbofan
  • Thrust: each engine up to 17,000 pounds
  • Wingspan: 185 feet (56.4 meters)
  • Length: 159 feet, 4 inches (48.5 meters)
  • Height: 40 feet, 8 inches (12.4 meters)
  • Weight: Approximately 185,000 pounds (83,250 kilograms)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 488,000 pounds (219,600 kilograms)
  • Fuel capacity: 312,197 pounds (141,610 kilograms)
  • Payload: 70,000 pounds (31,500 kilograms)
  • Speed: 650 miles per hour (Mach 0.84)
  • Range: 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles)
  • Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,151.5 meters)
  • Armament: approximately 70,000 pounds (31,500 kilograms) mixed ordnance: bombs, mines and missiles. (Modified to carry air-launched cruise missiles)
  • Crew: five (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer)
  • Unit cost: $84 million (fiscal 2012 constant dollars)
  • Initial operating capability: April 1952
  • Inventory: active force, 58; ANG, 0; Reserve, 18

 For more information on the B-52, visit the fact sheet on the U.S. Air Force website.