The killstreak is similar to the Stealth Bomber from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but lacks the stealth abilities. The bombs do not affect as large an area as the Stealth Bomber but the plane drops them faster, and the bombs can now kill players inside of buildings. The B-52 which delivers the strike cannot be shot down, even by the SAM Turret. For this reason, some players may prefer this over other killstreaks (such as Attack Helicopter), as those can be shot down fairly easily and even before they have had a chance to get any kills. Also, the Attack Helicopter only requires one less kill, so Rolling Thunder is preferred for fast, instant team wipeouts. Its effectiveness is mostly down to the placement of the strike by the player. The killstreak can wipe out an entire team, or hit no one at all. On a Care Package, Rolling Thunder has a 3% chance of being the result, and a 4% chance after a reroll.
On small maps like Nuketown, a well placed Rolling Thunder can easily kill the entire enemy team as the splash damage from the bombs can penetrate deep into buildings, but this can pose a risk to the player's life too. Therefore, it is only advised to use the Rolling Thunder here if it is the player's final killstreak or else the player will almost definitely die, ending their killstreak. On a very rare occasion, a player can get a double kill from each enemy on the map Nuketown.
Use of Rolling Thunder in Hardcore modes is questionable at best, since it is likely to kill as many teammates as it does enemies.
The player may escape a strike by going prone behind the army truck on Nuketown, providing that it is already blown up. They can also survive by waiting on the stairs inside the houses, which will protect them as long there is no explosives nearby.
- If a teammate directs a Rolling Thunder airstrike over the player's location, the message "Rolling Thunder inbound near you!" appears on-screen.
- This killstreak shares its name with a title from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, obtained by calling in 100 airstrikes.
- "Rolling Thunder" was the name of the B-52 bombing campaign over Vietnam in the 1960s, and the name of the killstreak is a reference to this.
- The only faction to call the B-52 by its killstreak name, Rolling Thunder, is the Tropas. Other factions simply say "B-52", or occasionally "Carpet Bomb".
- Along with the other airstrike, the Napalm Strike, if the host leaves, the bomber will still fly over and bomb, while it is picking a host, wasting the killstreak.
- On large maps, it is possible to get killed twice by the same carpet bomb, or sometimes with napalm strike, if one respawns right away, instead of watching the killcam. The same will happen by Stealth Bombers.
- Although the player can't shoot down the plane, they can protect themself by shooting at the bomb. However, it needs precise timing, or the player could shoot it down, then be killed by the splash damage.
- The maximum amount of bombs it drops is thirty one. This includes bombs dropped outside of the map.