U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 9, in support of theater requirements and Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria and the wider international community.
“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component. “As a multi-role platform, the B-52 offers diverse capabilities including delivery of precision weapons and the flexibility and endurance needed to support the combatant commanders’ priorities and strengthen the coalition team.”
The 19-nation air coalition consists of numerous strike aircraft and the B-52s will bring their unique capability to the fight against ISIL.
The B-52 is a long-range heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions including strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction and maritime operations.
Crews will be available to carry out missions in both Iraq and Syria as needed to support air tasking order requirements.
“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on (ISIL) and defend the region in any future contingency,” Brown said.
This deployment is the first basing of the B-52s in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in 26 years. The B-52s were based in Saudi Arabia supporting Operation Desert Storm. The B-52s were last flown operationally during Operation Enduring Freedom in May 2006, and during Exercise Eager Lion, a USCENTCOM-led multilateral exercise in Jordan, in May 2015.
The coalition conducted more than 33,000 airpower missions in support of OIR. Since the beginning of the operation, the coalition struck about 459 vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, 776 mortar systems, 1,933 logistics buildings housing these weapons, 662 weapons caches, and 1,341 staging areas.