After approximately 45,000 man-hours restoring a 55 year-old airframe, the US Air Force welcomes it’s newest B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber, named “Ghost Rider,” to the 5th Bomb Wing of the Air Force Global Strike Command, IHS Jane’s reports.
Over 19 months the bomber underwent significant restoration as it transitioned from the “boneyard” or essentially a graveyard where old US military planes go when they have retired, to Minot Air Base, North Dakota as a fully operational nuclear-capable bomber.
“Ghost Rider” will help compensate for losses to the B-52 fleet in recent years, like the B-52 that exploded on the runway in Guam in May of this year.
The US has increasingly turned to salvaging once-scrapped planes from the boneyard, as tight budgets and overworked air crews struggle to make ends meet.
The US operates 76 B-52 bombers despite the aircraft being first introduced in the mid 1950s. The B-52s serve as a very visible element of the US’s nuclear deterrence strategy.
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