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Quick facts on US B-52 bomber deployed over South Korea

B-52s were one arm of the nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War and were used in the carpet-bombings of North Vietnam.

January 11, 2016 11:55:08 am

Facts about the U.S. B-52 long-range bomber, which flew over South Korea on Sunday in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test last week:

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B-52s were one arm of the nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War and were used in the carpet-bombings of North Vietnam. During the 1991 Gulf War, they dropped 40 percent of the ordnance on Iraq. With airborne refueling, the planes — now fitted to launch cruise missiles as well as drop bombs — can fly around the world.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. The powerful U.S. B-52 bomber flew low over South Korea on Sunday, a clear show of force from the United States as a Cold War-style standoff deepened between its ally Seoul and North Korea following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test. The B-52 was joined by South Korean F-15 and U.S. F-16 fighters and returned to its base in Guam after the flight, the U.S. military said. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. The powerful U.S. B-52 bomber flew low over South Korea on Sunday, a clear show of force from the United States as a Cold War-style standoff deepened between its ally Seoul and North Korea following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test. The B-52 was joined by South Korean F-15 and U.S. F-16 fighters and returned to its base in Guam after the flight, the U.S. military said. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

During the first Gulf War, B-52s took off from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, fired missiles at Iraq, and returned home in a marathon 35-hour mission. They were also used in the 1999 air campaign against Yugoslavia and pounded al-Qaida and Taliban positions in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. The B-52 also played a role in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Quick Facts: 

First deployed: 1955

Length: 159 feet, 4 inches (47.8 meters)

Wingspan: 185 feet (55.5 meters)

Speed: 650 mph (1,045.85 kph)

Range: 8,800 miles (14,159 kilometers) without refueling

Armaments: 70,000 pounds (31,500 kilograms) of ordnance, which can include bombs, mines and missiles

Crew: Five.

Inventory: 58 active, 18 reserve.

Cost: US$84 million

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