Popular Mechanics has a quick blurb on the facelift our fleet of B-52 bombers is getting so that they can be more effective weapons and stay in the air until 2040. This includes improved radar and radios, better brakes, and an improved ordnance carrying capacity.
I have a lifelong affection for these big mothers. I was born a few miles from Minot Air Force Base, and I can't remember a time in my life I didn't hear those things rumbling overhead. Heck, the team at my first school (Grades 1 through 12 all under the same roof) was the "Bombers", and there was a huge mural of a B-52 on the wall of the gym. The terrain around the school must have reminded someone of somewhere overseas, because it was commonplace for a bomber to do a low-level practice run over the top of our playground.
A lot of my friends fathers either flew or maintained the bombers, and I knew something was up when all of the dads disappeared at odd intervals. I remember one really bad Saturday sometime around 1980 when all the fathers ran out of their homes pulling on their uniforms and heading back to base as fast as they could.
So now we're going to keep the B-52 in the air until I'm almost 70 years old, which would make the airframes almost 90 years old by the time they're retired. If they can make it that far, that's got to be some kind of record. It would be like the Navy still flying Curtiss biplanes to patrol the coastline, or the Army keeping Grant tanks in the active force. Here's hoping that these old, dependable aircraft continue to be an integral part of our air power for a long time.
H/T to Instapundit.