June 5 is the anniversary of the day in 1946 when Boeing won the competition to develop what would become the B-52 bomber. The design went through many iterations, but in the end it became the most iconic military aircraft of all time–and maybe the most long-lived. The Air Force plans to keep the Stratofortress, as it is called, in the active fleet until 2050. What accounts for the bomber’s unusual longevity? Among other things, its relevancy to U.S. military needs, its versatility, its survivability when equipped with standoff weapons, it availability (meaning readiness), and its affordability. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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