The U.S. Air Force has deployed B-52 long-range bombers to the Middle East for the first time since the Gulf war ended over 25 years ago to begin striking the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, officials said Saturday.

The U.S. Air Force Central Command said in a statement that an unknown number of B-52s will be based at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The U.S.-led coalition’s Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) responsible for running the air war against ISIS is also based there.

“The B-52 will provide the Coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component.

Lt. Brown also indicated the B-52 bombers could be ready to bomb elsewhere in the Middle East should the need arise.

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Featured Image – UA B-52 prepares for departure as another B-52 arrives. The B-52 is capable of flying 8,800 miles without refueling and can carry a weapons load of up to 70,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Horstman)