In its first deployment in the Middle East since Operation Desert Storm 26 years ago, the B-52 will contribute its awesome firepower in the war to decimate ISIS.
The United States has deployed B-52 Stratofortress precision bombers to the Midde Eastern country of Qatar to take part in the US-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) group, the Air Force said Saturday.
It is the first time the Cold War-era heavy bombers will be based in the region since the 1991 Gulf War, when they operated from neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The Air Force said the B-52s arrived at Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on Saturday.
The long-range bombers will join a multinational coalition carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the commander of US 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 ISIS.
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 US Air Force said in a statement.
“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on (ISIL) and defend the region in any future contingency,” Brown said.
The B-52s were last flown operationally during Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name used by the US government to describe the Global War on Terrorism, 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 against ISIS. 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.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff