The U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber, tail number 60-034 “Wise Guy”, arrived at Tinker Air Force Base on April 1 to undergo programmed depot maintenance at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex (OC-ALC).
PDM is the final part of a three-phase process to regenerate the aircraft and deliver rapid, effective, affordable combat power back to active service as a conventional weapons-only long-range heavy bomber.
With more than 17,000 flight hours, “Wise Guy” was slated to spend retirement basking in the desert sun at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG) “The Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, providing parts for other bombers … never to fly again.
But when a fire destroyed a B-52 during takeoff at Anderson AFB, Guam, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) was asked to regenerate an aircraft from storage at AMARG to restore the fleet to the Congressional-mandated 76 aircraft.
“Wise Guy” was selected and some pre-planning and structural inspections began December 2018 in preparations for a formal kick-off January 2019. The inspections were completed by the 76th Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight, a part of the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group, at OC-ALC, and a contract non-destructive inspection team from Boeing.
“Wise Guy” left AMARG May 14, 2019, for Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, with a crew of three who flew the aircraft at low speed and altitude. When the aircraft touched down at Barksdale, phase two began, bringing “Wise Guy” up to common fleet standards.
Once restored, “Wise Guy” will return to Minot AFB, North Dakota, where it will re-enter service and restore the fleet to 76 aircraft. The START-converted bomber will be equipped for conventional weapons-only and will continue the B-52H long-range, heavy bomber mission. In a conventional conflict, the jet will perform strategic attack, close-air-support (CAS), air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations.
This is only the second time a B-52H bomber has been regenerated to active service from the “Boneyard” at AMARG. The first B-52H bomber, nicknamed “Ghost Rider,” tail number 61-007, was regenerated at Tinker in 2015.