The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was initially deployed in 1955 as a strategic nuclear bomber. During the cold war-era it was the backbone of the Strategic Air Command. The combination of superior performance, the ability to fly for extended periods of the time, and itsí low operating costs have made the Stratofortress a valuable asset to the U.S. Air Force. It has proven to be a formidable weapon in various conflicts for more than half a century, from the Cold War and Vietnam to The Gulf War. The B-52 remains a legendary bomber, with a sterling record and many years of service remaining.