The B-52D was an improved version of the B-52C with mostly minor changes incorporated into the aircraft systems. The ability to carry to bomb-bay mounted reconnaissance and observation pod was eliminated and the “D” model was used only as a bomber.
The B-52D was used in the Cold War operation known as “Chrome Dome” in which a number B-52s armed with nuclear bombs always airborne alert. The purpose of this was to deter a Russian nuclear attack by guaranteeing that a significant number of nuclear armed bombers would escape the attack and be readily available to deliver an immediate and devastating counter-attack.
B-52Ds were also used extensively in Southeast Asia beginning in the mid-1960s. Operating from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and later U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Base, the B-52 was a major component of many operations including Arc Light, Iron Hand, Rolling Thunder, Linebacker and Linebacker II.
Production of the B-52 series began in 1954 and continued until the last aircraft, a B-52H was delivered in October of 1962. The B-52D remained in service until 1983 when the last aircraft of the 7th Bomb Wing were retired.
Armament: Four .50-cal. M-3 machine guns in the tail barbette and up to 60,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-19W turbojets of 10,500 lbs. thrust each (dry), 12,100 lbs. thrust each wet (water injection)
Maximum speed: 638 mph/551 knots at 20,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 526 mph
Range: 3,305 nautical miles combat radius at combat weight of 293,100 lbs. (without in-flight refueling); 8,338 miles maximum ferry range
Service ceiling: 46,200 ft. at combat weight of 293,100 lbs.
Span: 185 ft. 0 in.
Length: 156 ft. 7 in.
Height: 48 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 450,000 lbs. (maximum takeoff weight)