WASHINGTON (AP) – The Air Force says the venerable B-52 bomber, which gained lasting fame in Vietnam as an aerial terror, is now likely to outlive its younger, far snazzier brother bombers, the swept-wing B-1 and the stealthy B-2.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced Monday that the service plans to begin retiring the B-1 and B-2 fleets as soon as it builds enough of the service’s next-generation bomber, the B-21, nicknamed the Raider, which is still on the drawing boards.
The B-52 is expected to keep flying until 2050, if not longer. The plane, called a Stratofortress, was built in 1952 and first entered service in 1955.
Wilson said the B-1 and B-2 retirement timelines depend on Raider production schedules — the Air Force expects to start fielding the new bomber in the mid-2020s.
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