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Defense Weapons System - Term Paper Example

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In the paper “Defense Weapons System” the author analyzes the creation of some of the most useful, innovative and dangerous pieces of military hardware ever created. One of the most notable among these is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress of the United States…
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Defense Weapons System
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Download file to see previous pages The longevity of the B-52 is, in a word, incredible. This is especially apparent in light of its predecessor the B-29 which, after most infamously being used in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, spent a total of 21 years in active service before being decommissioned. That being said, though, both the B-52 and the B-29 find common ground in their origins during the Second World War. Whereas the B-29 would be fielded just in time for World War II, the B-52 instead was conceived in the war's final days (B-52 Stratofortress Association, 2012). And even then, it was not until after the war that the B-52 first saw the light of day. The origins of the B-52 Stratofortress date back to 1945, when the Army Air Corps initiated a design competition (GlobalSecurity.org, 2012) calling for a newer strategic bomber to succeed the B-29 and the B-36, which would eventually be won by Boeing. The specifications called for an aircraft capable of carrying a bomb load of up to 10,000 pounds up to a distance of 5,000 miles, and at an altitude of 35,000 feet - tall at a minimum cruising speed of 450 miles per hour. In fact, Boeing had their hands full at first as they tried to conform to these standards, especially with respect to coming up with an engine powerful enough to provide such speed and range. On the other hand, this also allowed Boeing to bypass this seeming impasse by settling on the eight engine design sported by the B-52 today (Federation of American Scientists, 2012). Certain features would also be adopted from its predecessors the B-36 and the B-47, leading to further breakthroughs. Eventually, the XB-52 - a fully functional prototype - was rolled out in November of 1951 (B-52 Stratofortress Association, 2012). More variants of the B-52 would be created over the next 30 years as improvements continued to be made on a regular basis before the year 1983 marked the end of the first generation. The B-52 has undoubtedly proven to be Boeing's single most enduring aircraft today. Even then, though, its success is belied by its tender beginnings and by the design flaws were slowly but surely ironed out over the years. That it continues to be in service today, more than 50 years after its conceptualization, is a testament to the expertise with which the B-52's design was crafted by its makers. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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