Doha: U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Saturday joining Operation Inherent Resolve, the American-led campaign against the Islamic State group.
The deployment marks the first time the Air Force will use the Cold War-era warplanes — from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana — in the counter-ISIS fight in Iraq and Syria.
The service did not disclose the exact number of bombers it deployed.
"The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component, said in a release.
“As a multi-role platform, the B-52 offers diverse capabilities including delivery of precision weapons and the flexibility and endurance needed to support the combatant commander's priorities and strengthen the coalition team."
In March, Air Force officials hinted that the aircraft, affectionately known as the "Big Ugly Fat Fellow," would replace the B-1 Lancers, which returned in January.
"There have been recent infrastructure improvements that now allow the necessary support to deploy the B-52 in theater," Air Force Times quoted Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James as saying at an Air Force briefing on March 7.