The eight-engined behemoth was sacrificed as part of a U.S. effort to get in compliance with a treaty that limits American and Soviet bomber strength. The plane was in a boneyard awaiting its fate. it was the last of more than 150 B-52Gs delivered before the Air Force upgrade to the H-model, which is still flying.
The B-52Gs were the backbone of the American nuclear bomber fleet well into the 1990s.
The last of the G-model planes had some history in Vietnam, too.
“Tail number 58-0224 flew combat missions over North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, which began Dec. 18, 1972 and lasted 11 nights,” The Air Force said in a news release. “This particular B-52G targeted the Yen Vien Railroad Yards and the Hanoi Railroad Repair Yards.”
The B-52 entered Air Force service with tests in 1954 and will mark its 60th anniversary for the service in 2014. But the mighty planes have a lot of work ahead.
Air Force plans include using B-52H aircraft through 2045, when the newest B-52s in the fleet will be more than 80 years old.