The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: B-52H Stratofortress

The B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Manufacturer: Boeing

Function: Heavy Bomber

Service Date: 1955

Speed: 650 mph

Crew: Five

Production: 744 Inventory: 94

Commentary: The B-52 is the largest aircraft credited with air-to-air kills (2 in Vietnam). Specially modified NB-52s support NASA and USAF test programs, acting as the launch platform for the X-15, lifting body aircraft, and other test vehicles. One B-52 unit is dedicated to the nuclear mission at all times.