Watch a B-52 Drop a Bunker-Buster on ISIS
Huge bomber, huge bomb
U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers have been bombing Islamic State since April 2016. Flying from Al Udeid in Qatar, the eight-engine warplanes launched their first strike — against an ISIS weapons-storage facility in Iraq — on April 18, 2016.
The B-52s have mainly flown close-air-support and air-interdiction missions, dropping two types of Joint Direct Attack Munitions — the 500-pound, GPS- and laser-guided GBU-54 and the 2,000-pound GPS-guided GBU-31V3 bunker-buster.
This video, dated May 23, 2017, reportedly depicts a high-altitude attack on a target in western Mosul, as seen from the cockpit of a B-52 from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. The resulting explosion is enormous.
The B-52’s typical load-out for a raid on ISIS includes three GBU-31s and eight GBU-54s on external pylons plus up to eight more weapons in the internal bay. The mix of guided bombs gives the bomber the ability to attack both stationary and moving ground targets.
The GBU-54, which boasts a dual, laser-GPS guidance system, is usually best at hitting moving targets. For hardened targets or concrete shelters, the GBU-31 with its GPS and inertial guidance and forged-steel penetrator, is the weapon of choice.
Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s munitions flight build the GBU-31s at Al Udeid.