70,000 pounds. That’s how much ordinance an Air Force B-52 Bomber can carry into battle. Introduced in 1955, the massive bomber is 40 feet tall, stretches 156 feet long and has a wingspan of 185 feet. Each wing is bigger than most people’s houses at 4,000 square feet.
Officially named the Stratofortress, those who work on it gave it the awesome acronym BUFF.
An Air Force member told Smithsonian it stands for ‘Big Ugly Fat Fellow,’ but did say that last ‘F’ was “open to interpretation.” So yeah, everyone says ‘Fucker’ not ‘Fellow.’
The B-52 can carry any weapon. From mines and laser-guided bombs to eight nukes. If it’s designed to fall, the B-52 can drop it.
Did You Know: The B-52 was originally designed to be a straight-wing, propeller powered heavy bomber. On October 21, 1948, the Air Force’s chief of bomber development told Boeing Chief Engineer Ed Wells and his design team to ditch the propellers and go with an all-jet bomber. The plane we see today was designed over a weekend in a Dayton, Ohio hotel room. The team built a scale model of the new version of the B-52 and presented it along with a 33-page report. Four years later, the B-52 flew its first flight.
The B-52 weapons bay.
The B-52 is in its 61st year of service in the U.S. Air Force, and there are no signs it’s service will end anytime soon. 76 of the enormous aircraft remain in operation across several Air Force bases. The BUFF is expected to celebrate many more yearly anniversaries before being decommissioned. Current estimates put the B-52 in service until at least the 2040s. Can it hit a 100 year anniversary? Something tells me that acronym will get even more colorful if folks are still working on them by then.