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Trump Puts B-52s on Alert
President Trump has authorized the Air Force to prepare to put its fleet of B-52s back on 24-hour alert – a status not seen since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein said during a tour of Barksdale Air Force Base in Lousiana, the home of the 2nd Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command: “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared. I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.” “It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.” Over 744 B-52s have been built with the first birds going in service in 1955. Today 58 are still in active service with 18 in reserve. The bomber can carry 70,000 pounds of weapons and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles without refueling, while flying at just below the speed of sound at about 50,000 feet. The latest upgrades to the B-52s were done between 2013 and 2015. They are now expected to serve into the 2040s. The flight line at Barksdale AFB is being renovated to accommodate a number of B-52s which will be parked at the end of the 11,000-foot runway. Sleeping quarters for up to 100 crew are being renovated so that crews can sleep close enough to their bombers to simply run to their planes and be in the air within minutes.