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TB-52D 'Pave Beast'

by Bud Sliger

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Silly Week 2007

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TB-52D Pave Beast

'Lucifer-600'

assigned to 484th BS, 43rd BW

Anderson AFB Guam

1981

 

After the end of the Vietnam conflict in 1973 and with the return of the Big Belly modified B-52Ds to nuclear alert, SAC made a decision to form a new B-52 unit to train new crews in the various missions that the big bomber was expected to carry out now. The new unit would also be combat ready should the SIOP plan need to be implemented. SAC formed the 484th BS at Anderson AFB, Guam in 1975 and equipped it with a handful of B-52Ds that were converted to training standards under the Pave Beast program.

 

    The TB-52D is a basic Big Belly BUFF wired to fire the SRAM, which 8 can be mounted externally. The gunner’s position is deleted for extra ECM gear, and 2 jumpseats are installed (one on the upper deck & one on the lower deck) for instructors. In the training role the Pave Beast can be fitted with up to 4 CATM-86 ALCM training rounds or 12 free fall weapons externally, with up to 9 high-density bomb ‘clips’ can be installed internally. 18 ‘low time’ B-52Ds were converted.

Click on images below to see larger images

  

   Between 1978 and 1983 the 484th was involved in camo experiments, with most of their aircraft finished in different variations of the standard SIOP scheme & ARCLITE camo. “Lucifer-600” was finished in a 3-tone of light gray, dark ghost gray & dark green, with black sides and undersurfaces.

 

    While the primary task of the 484th was basic B-52 training, the squadron did have a secondary role in the unlikely event that war did break out. The Pave Beast still retained their ability to haul massive amounts of conventional ordnance, and if the SIOP was implemented the 484th would be called on to take out coastal radars and C&C facilities using SRAMs and free-fall weapons. A secondary task includes sea-lane and harbor mining.

 

    After being in service for 8 years, SAC began replacing the worn-out TB-52Ds with more capable, upgraded & ALCM-optimized TB-52Gs in 1982. The final flight took place in August 1983, when the last Pave Beast took off for Davis-Monthan AFB. “Lucifer-600”, the first B-52D to be modified (as well as the last BUFF to drop bombs during the Vietnam war), remains on Guam as the gate guard for Anderson AFB, still finished in her unique camo.

 

Bud 

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Photos and text © by Bud Sliger

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