This story was originally published at 9:05 p.m. EDT April 21, 2016.

Only in the Middle East for a few weeks, U.S. Air Force B-52s called to the fight against the Islamic State group have received glowing praise from officials who yearned for their precision-guided bombs. And they're delivering.

"[The International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve] welcomes @usairforce B-52 contributions in the war against #ISIL - 1st B-52 strike was near #Quyarrah, [Iraq]," OIR spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren posted on Twitter April 21, along with the video of the multi-role bomber's strike three days earlier.

The video shows the target to be an ISIS weapons storage facility, destroyed a few seconds later.

Several B-52s arrived at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on April 9 to join the American-led campaign.

Their deployment marks the first time the Air Force is using 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.

In March, Air Force officials hinted that the aircraft, affectionately known as the "Big Ugly Fat Fellows," would replace the B-1 Lancers, which returned in January.

Despite being in the Air Force inventory for more than 50 years, BUFFs can drop precision-guided weapons. The aircraft's payload capacity of 70,000 pounds can include gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision-guided (cruise) missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

"There are memories in the collective unconscious of B-52s, decades ago, doing... arguably indiscriminate bombing," Warren said during a briefing Wednesday.

"Those days are long gone. The B-52 is a precision-strike weapons platform and it will conduct the same type of precision strikes that we have seen for the last 20 months."

Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East and Europe for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at

In Other News
Load More