DOHA, Qatar, April 9 (UPI) — The United States Air Force deployed B-52 long range bombers to join air strikes against the Islamic State.
An undisclosed number of B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana landed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Saturday, according to the U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
“The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said. “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.”
B-52s are described as “a long-range heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions” and have not been deployed since Operation Desert Storm 26 years ago.
“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on [the IS] and defend the region in any future contingency”, Brown said. The militant group is also known as ISIL, ISIS and Daesh.
According to Air Force Times, the Air Force suggested B-52s would replace B-1 Lancer aircrafts during a briefing on March 7.
“There have been recent infrastructure improvements that now allow the necessary support to deploy the B-52 in theater,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.
Air Force officials said the military is focusing on modernizing the B-52s to keep the aircrafts flying through 2040.