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Boeing’s B-52 bombers shot down fighter jets in the Vietnam War

Designed in the late 1940s, Boeing’s B-52 is one of the most revered aircraft in aviation history. Known for their ability to fly the world without the need for refueling, these magnificent aircraft also carry a heavy payload that can broke the proverbial back of opponents. What many don’t know is the fact that high-flying bombers also took part in dog fights in their early days and were also on top.

In the 1940s, the US Air Force was looking for a long-range bomber to reduce its dependence on air bases operated by other countries. After much back-and-forth, he settled on the design of the B-52, which included eight jet engines under swept wings. At the time, the bombers did not enjoy the escort services that Combat planes provide today and carried their gunners. Much slower than fighter jets, bombers often fell victim to fighters, except on rare occasions when the shooter was superior to a fighter.

During the Vietnam War, the United States conducted Operation Linebacker II, which consisted of waves of these high-altitude bombers dropping tons of bombs over the northern part of the country. Although more than ten of these bombers were shot down during the war, the tail shooter, pilot Albert Moore, surpassed the MiG-21 on Christmas Eve 1972.

According to him officially recorded statements with the U.S. Air Force, Moore was on board B-52D with tail number 55-083 and spotted a rapidly approaching MiG-21 on its radar sight. He informed the crew of his plane to take measures to avoid and launch flares. However, the fighter continued to prevail over the bomber and approached from a distance of 4,000 yards (3.6 km) to 2,000 yards (1.8 km).

Just a few days ago, another gunner, Senior Sergeant Loius E. Le Blanc, who was on another B-52 with tail number 56-0676, managed to shoot down another MiG-21. The odds were set against Moore, but as the fighter approached, he accepted the call to fire and sent 800 rounds in three bursts. The fighter rose to three times the intensity of the radar and then disappeared, Moore said about a week later. A gunner from another B-52 confirmed the killing in an official report.

Moore’s shot is only the second time in recorded history that a shooter has successfully shot down a fighter. Over the years, the gunners were shot down by B-52s and other aircraft. However, since no other gunner has been able to launch a fighter jet in the history of American service, Moore holds the unique record of being the last to do so.

Moore died in 2009 at the age of 55. However, even after 69 years of continuous service, the B-52 continues to play the role of strategic bomber in the US Air Force. Last year, the US Air Force decided to equip aircraft with new engines which will extend their service life until the 2050s.





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