The B-52H BUFF [Big Ugly Fat Fellow] had the role of being the primary nuclear weapons bomber in the USAF inventory. Initially it provided the only Air Launch Cruise Missile carriage in the USAF. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
The aircraft's flexibility was evident during the Vietnam War and, again, in Operation Desert Storm. B-52s struck wide-area troop concentrations, fixed installations and bunkers, and decimated the morale of Iraq's Republican Guard. The Gulf War involved the longest strike mission in the history of aerial warfare when B-52s took off from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., launched conventional air launched cruise missiles and returned to Barksdale -- a 35-hour, non-stop combat mission.