A US B-52H Stratofortress large-payload multirole strategic bomber aircraft practiced a mock attack on a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea region.
A strategic bomber of the U.S. Air Force approached to within about 99 miles (160 km) of the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on Friday, according to flight data from air traffic network Plane Radar.
“16:25 Moscow time. A US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber, registration number 61-0009, engaging in imitation of the bombing of the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet,” Plane Radar announced on Twitter on 15 March.
The B-52 is one of the oldest airframes that the Air Force still operates. The Stratofortress bombers have been in every conflict since the Vietnam War.
As to date, B-52s have been modified for low-level flight, conventional bombing, extended-range flights and transport of improved defensive and offensive equipment — including ballistic and cruise missiles that can be launched hundreds of miles from their targets.
B-52H Stratofortress is capable of carrying and launching nuclear weapons.
According to the current information, the bomber can fly at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and can be armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles or a conventional payload of up to 70,000 pounds.
The B-52H bombers currently in service were built between 1961 and 1963, and are expected to fly until 2040. The Air Force will replace them with the new B-21 Raider bomber, currently under development.