Author Topic: Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of RAF 617 Squadron, 1999  (Read 3452 times)

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Some background:
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber,  designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades.
Beginning with the successful contract bid in June 1946, the B-52 design evolved from a straight wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings. The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions by the United States Air Force (USAF), the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. A veteran of several wars, the B-52 has dropped only conventional munitions in combat, capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.

The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955. The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was inactivated in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC). In 2010 all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the new Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).


1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later, more advanced aircraft, including the canceled Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealth B-2 Spirit. The B-52 has so far completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator, and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is expected to serve with the USAF even into the 2040s, maybe even beyond that.

The only foreign operator of the B-52 had been the Royal Air Force in the 1980ies and 19990ies, and just in a small number. After the USAF's retirement of the earlier B-52 types, the remaining G and H models were used for nuclear standby ("alert") duty as part of the United States' nuclear triad. This triad was the combination of nuclear-armed land-based missiles, submarine-based missiles and manned bombers.

After the end of the Falkland War, the Royal Air Force withdrew its final long-range bomber type, the Avro Vulcan - which was to be replaced by the MRCA Tornado which was designed to a totally different tactical profile. Fearing the loss of international influence, the Ministry of Defence decided to fill this gap and leased twelve revamped and heavily modified B-52Gs from the USA. This was a convenient deal for both sides, since these bombers were earmarked to be scrapped per the terms of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


These modified aircraft were designated B-52K by Boeing, while the RAF officially called them later in service Stratofortress B.I, even though B-52K was more common. Most obvious change was the introduction of new engines. The B-52K benefited from a Boeing study for the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1970s which investigated replacing the original TF33 engines, changing to a new wing, and other improvements to upgrade B-52G/H aircraft as an alternative to the B-1A, then in development. Boeing had suggested re-engining the complete USAF B-52 fleet with four Rolls-Royce RB211 535E-4 each. The RB211 had originally been developed for the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar in the early 1970ies, but also saw use with several Boeing airliners, the "535" being a special development for the 757 airliner.

This new, bigger engine would not only improve overall weight and power (total thrust 8 17,000 lb vs .4 37,400 lb), it would also increase range and reduce fuel consumption and  simplify the whole aircraft. Despite these direct benefits the USAF did not opt for this offer: the costs for aircraft modifications, infrastructure, logistics and also for the running operations of the complete fleet would have been prohibitively high, as well as only a partial conversion. For the UK, where the weapon system was to be introduced from scratch and also on a much smaller scale, the update made sense, though.

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

Boeing supported the British project, since the company expected to present the UK conversion as a field case study for potential later large-scale sales to the USAF. This included extensive wind tunnel testing, in order to optimize the engine pylons. These tests also demonstrated that the new four-engined aircraft may not have enough rudder authority to counter the adverse yaw generated by an outboard engine-out scenario. As a consequence, an enlarged fin was (re-)introduced, even though it was different from the earlier B-52 variants. Actually, as a cost saving measure, fin elements from the Boeing 747 airliner were used - and its integral tank enhanced the overall fuel capacity even further.

The ex-USAF B-52Gs converted into K models were taken from surplus stock that not been modified into cruise missile carriers, they were rather conventional bombers with nuclear capabilities - its main purpose for the RAF. A secondary role were martime operations like mine laying or missile attacks against surface ships over long distances.

Hence, the RAF aircraft underwent a series of modifications to improve conventional bombing and to adapt them to RAF standards. They were fitted with a new Integrated Conventional Stores Management System (ICSMS) and new underwing pylons that could hold larger bombs or other stores, including up to twelve AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The B-52K also introduced new radios, integrated Global Positioning System into the aircraft's navigation system and replaced. The under-nose FLIR was retained, even though with a modernized system. A fixed refluelling probe for the RAF's drogue system was installed on top of the cockpit section (earn ing the B-52K the nickname "unicorn"), and the tail gun station was deleted and replaced with ECM equipment and flare/chaff dispensers.

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Delivery started in 1990, and the B-52K was just too late to become operational during the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), in which RAF Tornados took part in, though, as well as USAF B-52s. In fact, the modified BUFF took three years to become fully operational, despite - or perhaps because of - the small fleet. In parallel, the Tornado was gradually introduced, too.
Eventually, the B-52Ks were baptized with fire: in 1999, when 'Operation Allied Force' began and USAF and RAF bombers bombarded Serb targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - even though with mixed success, since more than 600 of the 1.000 bombs dropped by the RAF during the Kosovo conflict missed their target, the Ministry of Defence admitted in 2000.

In 2003 the B-52Ks also took part in the invasion of Iraq as part of 'Operation Telic'.  The Iraqi Forces were unable to mobilize their air force to attempt a defense, and the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Naval Aviation, as well as the Royal Air Force, operated with impunity throughout the country, pinpointing heavily defended resistance targets and destroying them before ground troops arrived.

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


This success reinstated the B-52K's performance reputation a little, but could not deny the fact that the global political situation had changed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and that the heavy bomber was a concept of the past. Furthermore, the changing character of conflicts and the respective mission profiles made the British MoD in 2004 decide to retire the small, costly B-52K fleet, of which four aircraft had already to be grounded due to the end of their airframe lifetime. Consequently, all B-52Ks were scrapped until 2005.

Besides, the program results did not change the USAF's decision to keep the B-52H with its eight engine layout in service.




General characteristics:
    Crew: 5 (pilot, copilot, Weapon Systems Officer, navigator, Electronic Warfare Officer)
    Length: 159 ft 4 in (48.5 m)
    Wingspan: 185 ft 0 in (56.4 m)
    Height: 42 ft (12.8 m)
    Wing area: 4,000 sq ft (370 m)
    Airfoil: NACA 63A219.3 mod root, NACA 65A209.5 tip
    Zero-lift drag coefficient: ~0,0119
    Drag area: 47,60 sq ft (4,42 m)
    Aspect ratio: 8,56
    Fuel capacity: 48.630 U.S. gal (40.495 imp gal; 181.090 l)
    Empty weight: 185.000 lb (83.250 kg)
    Loaded weight: 265.000 lb (120.000 kg)
    Max. takeoff weight: 488.000 lb (220.000 kg)

Powerplant:
    4 Rolls-Royce RB211 535E-4 turbofan jet engines, rated at 17.000 kp (37.400 lb) each

Performance:
    Maximum speed: 560 kn (650 mph, 1.047 km/h)
    Cruise speed: 442 kn (525 mph, 844 km/h)
    Combat radius: 4.750 mi (4.125 nmi, 7.650 km)
    Ferry range: 10.715 mi (9.300 nmi, 17.250 km)
    Service ceiling: 50.000 ft (15.000 m)
    Rate of climb: 6.270 ft/min (31,85 m/s)
    Wing loading: 120 lb/ft (586 kg/m)
    Thrust/weight: 0.31
    Lift-to-drag ratio: 21.5 (estimated)

Armament:
    Approximately 70.000 lb (31.500 kg) mixed ordnance; bombs, mines, missiles, in various
    configurations in an internal bomb bay and/or on wing pylons

Avionics:
    Electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward looking infrared and high 
    resolution low-light-level television sensors
    LITENING Advanced Targeting System
    Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod
    IBM AP-101 computer



The kit and its assembly:
I remember that I read about the re-engine project of the USAF's late B-52 versions when I was in school, many years ago, and the BUFF is still flying - even though in its original eight engine layout. Anyway, I wonder why this topic has not been adopted by modelers more often? O.K., a B-52 is a large aircraft, but there are good small scale version around, like the Dragon kit in 1:200 which I converted.

Work was pretty straightforward, and the basis is/was a B-52G. The kit was built almost OOB, only mods include:
- engine nacelles from a Hasegawa Boeing 747-400
- the upper section of the latter's fin, too
- a scratched refuelling probe
- a modified tail without the four machine guns

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Fit is good and surface structure/details are more than satisfactory for a kit of this small scale. Only thing that bugged me was the slightly tinted canopy that is a bit too wide for the fuselage, it's hard to blend it into the rest of the body. Another building horror were the 24 itsy-tiny bombs for the quadruple MERs under the wings...  :banghead:

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Integrating the Jumbo nacelles was easier than expected, even though, after finishing the conversion, I'd recommend reducing the height of the outer pyolns by 2-3 mm, so that the engines come higher and closer to the wings. Space to the ground is very little - and to mend this I lengthened the outrigger wheels slightly.

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Another issue were the wing parts - the left wing was slightly warped, upwards, and even though I tried to bend and force it into a stright line it somehow move back into its original position, so that a B-52 on the ground was hard to realize. If you build one, tuck the landing gear up and put it on a stand. It looks better, anyway... ;)

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Painting and markings:
This was the fun part. A B-52 with four bigher jet engines is one thing, and at first I intended to create a contemporary USAF aircraft. But then I remembered the weird Hemp apint scheme for large RAF birds like the Nimrod, VC.10 or Tristar tankers, and I wondered if that could not be applied to a B-52 in "foreign service"...?

Said and done, and from there things unfolded in a straightforward fashion. The only consequence of the RAF as user was the fixed refuelling probe, and the 340kg iron bombs that came as ordnance with the kit were a welcome option, too.

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Even though Hemp is available from Humbrol (168) I rather used a darker tone, 187. Hemp was later used for shading, though. The undersides were painted in Barley Grey (Humbrol 167) and shaded with Light Ghost Grey (FS 36375, Humbrol 127), after a light wash with highly thinned black ink. Radomes and antennae received a yellow-ish, beige finish, the landing gear and the air intakes were painted white, as well as the MERs.

Decals come from several kits, e .g. a Cyber Hobby 1:200 Vulcan, a Matchbox Hawk 200 and a Tornado sheet from the Operation Allied Force era (the nose art was taken from there, as well as the ZA447 code).

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:200 Boeing B-52K 'Stratofortress B.I', "ZA447/(AJ)G" of  Royal Air Force 617 Squadron; Waddington, England, 1999, during 'Operation Allied Force' (Whif/Dragon kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


A relatively simple whif - the large engine nacelles look strange and demonstrate how slender the B-52's body actually is, compared with an airliner. But the Hemp/Grey livery suits it very well, and the pics taken from above show how effective this scheme is when the aircraft is parked on a concrete airfield, and it is even effective in the air!

Offline Geoff

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I like this. When I saw the title I was thinking KB-52,   hmmm!

Offline sandiego89

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She looks great!  Hemp suits her well- nice choice.   :thumbsup:

Those engines are some big'uns!
Dave "Sandiego89"
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

Offline Dizzyfugu

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I like this. When I saw the title I was thinking KB-52,   hmmm!

Also an interesting idea... (LOL). Yes, the engines look large - and they are. I have seen CG simulations of this re-engined B-52, and at first I did not believe in the pictures. The intakes have almost the same diameter as the fuselage! But it is "correct", and demonstrates how slender the B-52 actually is, at least compared with a wide-body airliner. I just underestimated the room the outer engines take when the thing is on the ground, there's little clearance left and a touchdown should be a delicate act. In the air the combo looks fine, though.  :rolleyes:

Offline PR19_Kit

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ALL B-52s should look like this!  :thumbsup: :bow:

Excellent job there Thomas, a great build and terrific backstory too.  :thumbsup:
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline NARSES2

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Gorgeous  :bow:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Thank you!  :tornado:

Offline Martin H

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I like the look of this one alot!  ;D

The big turbofans suit it  :thumbsup:
As they say, great minds think alike. I built an RAF Buff using the monogram 72nd scale kit ages ago.........................

Both Dizzy's and mine could show the developement and service history of the RAF's Buff fleet. :cheers: :cheers:


And yes there is a Blue steel under each wing  ;D

My model is currently stored. And might make another show appearance one day.
I always hope for the best.
Unfortunately,
experience has taught me to expect the worst.

Size (of the stash) matters.



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Offline Dizzyfugu

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It looks very cool in the all-white livery. SPINNERS also did one, IIRC - not certain if 747 engine nacelles would be available in 1:72...?  ;)

That South African Victor also looks interesting?

Offline Martin H

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Its a little known fact that the SAAF had ordered 8 Victor B-1's. They were in build when sanctions took affect. They ended up as recci  birds with 543 sqn RAF. The SAAF had even got as far as allocating serials for the 8 birds. 8001-8008. They were also after Nimrods as well. (ive also done that one in a joint effort with Thorvic)

The information about the SAAF Victor order was forthcoming from our own Phil C (Rodger the cabin boy) who is also the leader of the IPMS(UK) SAAF sig.

I think Brad/Scooterman also built a SAAF Victor but did his in a cammo scheme.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 12:31:07 pm by Martin H »
I always hope for the best.
Unfortunately,
experience has taught me to expect the worst.

Size (of the stash) matters.



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Offline Scooterman

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I think Brad/Scooterman also built a SAAF Victor but did his in a cammo scheme.

Yep, but I can't find a pic of the darn thing.  It's been retired to the big box of storage.

Offline KiwiZac

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Beautiful work, dizzyfish!!! The new fin is a lovely, subtle change, and the new engines and IFR probe are excellent. Top work on the paint, too.

I must say, I rather like the SAAF Victor!
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

Offline nighthunter

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Thomas, an alternative engine would be any 4 from a Next Gen 737 the engines are shaped appropriately for low clearance. Maybe next time!
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Offline McColm

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Great work and background story. Kit looks big in 1/200 scale, I had a 1/72 Monogram B-52G and it was huge.

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Size was my concern, too. Actually, I had this (and a D) B-52 stashed away for a scale-o-rama build, but the re-engine idea was too tempting - esp. when i found out which engines were proposed and where to find them... ;) The Hasegawa 747 was an incomplete kit, so it was cheap, but you get a set of four nacelles as resin parts, too (Contrails, I think). That said, 737 engines would be much too small - even though, if I'd ever build one again, the outer pylons need to be shortened. A grey/green RAF livery should suit the B-52K well, too? But I must admit that the all-white option also looks very sexy...  :thumbsup: