With little media notice, the United States plans to deploy up to six B-52 strategic bombers to Northern Australia. This imposing, and enormously capable, long-range strategic bomber is one of the most durable and respected military aircraft in history.

The B-52 has been a mainstay of the nation’s strategic nuclear bomber force since 1955. Development of Intercontinental Ballistic (ICBM) and Submarine-Launched Ballistic (SLBM) Missiles in the 1960s overshadowed but did not remove the need for flexible – including recallable – aircraft. With some irony, the B-52 participated in massive conventional bombing raids during the Vietnam War.

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Arthur I. Cyr is Clausen Distinguished Professor at Carthage College and author of "After the Cold War" (NYU Press and Macmillan). Readers can wrote to him at acyr@carthage.edu.

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