Murphy's Law: Russian Billionaire Seeks to Buy a B-52

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August 30, 2007: At the recent MAKS 2007 air show in Russia, there was a B-52 on display, a very wealthy Russian came up and tried to buy the aircraft. The air force personnel manning the display were a little taken aback, and, believing the guy wanted a working one, blurted out that it would cost about half a billion problems. The Russian billionaire, surrounded by bodyguards, replied that this was not a problem. Then he said, "It is such a cool machine."

If the wealthy Russian had pursued the matter further (which he may already be doing) he could probably get his hands on a B-52 for a lot less money. Of the 744 B-52s built, only 94 are still in service. Nearly fifty have already been donated to museums (including one in Australia and one in South Korea.) Giving one to a Russian museum, with a wealthy Russian paying for moving and refurbishing it, would probably be seen as a great publicity opportunity. This would, of course, be a "museum model" with the engines and all classified equipment removed.

Because of the Russia-U.S. START treaty, hundreds of B-52s in the "bone yard" were stripped of any useful equipment in the 1990s, and, since then, chopped up for scrap. This was all done out in the open, so that Russian spy satellites could confirm it. But there are still a few wrecks left lying around, and one of the current force could be retired, for a worthy cause.

 


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