Skip to comments.Boeing B-52 set to receive major radar upgrade
Posted on 05/20/2010 6:59:33 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The US Air Force is moving forward with a major new upgrade for the half-century-old Boeing B-52H fleet, focused on replacing the bomber's radar, which is roughly 30 years old.
The Northrop Grumman APQ-166 strategic radar is nearing the end of its useful life and will be replaced on 76 B-52Hs, the USAF says in a request for information issued to industry. The new system will perform all of the mission functions now performed by the APQ-166 mechanically scanned array, but provide "new and enhanced capabilities", the air force says.
Although active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology is now available off the shelf and being integrated on the Northrop B-2A bomber fleet, the air force document stops short of demanding that level of technology integration for the B-52H.
"The main focus of the [Strategic Radar Replacement (SR2)] programme is sustainability/supportability," the air force says.
Budget documents indicate the programme is well-funded. The SR2 line item in the air force's fiscal year 2011 budget request contains $151.3 million to complete development and production through 2022. The air force plans to launch the development in late FY2013, following an analysis of alternatives phase and a competitive contract selection.
The SR2 requirement is the latest major B-52 upgrade to emerge as the air force protects its investment in a fleet that entered service in the mid-1950s, but continues to be relied on heavily today in combat operations.
The USAF also is upgrading the B-52's ability to communicate with other forces in the combat network communication technology programme. It is also integrating extremely high-frequency antennas on the B-52 fleet.
(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...
What magnificent airplanes!
How much longer are these bombers going to be allowed to fly?
Until the year 2040
I remember reading about a day when an engine went out on one of these birds, and the pilot requested an emergency landing, and the tower radioed back, ‘Ah yes, the dreaded 7-engine landing’.
But, I guess the USAF brass would screw that up as well.
An indication of the service life of the B-52 would be to imagine the Air Force flying operational missions in Vietnam with the Wright Military Flyer!
“sustainability/supportability” = spare parts availability
We oughta replace em with 747’s for a bigger payload. Carpet bombing is needed in several areas.
In 1971 I was excited about the prospects of flying “defensive fire control” in the B-52D and was disappointed to learn latter models would move me out of the tail gunner position, into a camera operated position, behind the EWO officer.
I ended up working in nuclear weapons and never did fly or get stationed in ‘Nam.
40 years later I’m not so sure I’d be excited about flying in this same airframe.....
I hear you.
But D.C. is Restricted Airspace.
When was the last engine upgrade? Swap out the 8 old for four new high bypass turbofans and keep it flying for another 50 years.
The Plane That Time Forgot.
That was already discussed and dismissed, over a decade ago.
Still worth reviewing every ten years or so, just to see if it’s economically feasible.
“An indication of the service life of the B-52 would be to imagine the Air Force flying operational missions in Vietnam with the Wright Military Flyer!”
A Wright flyer with vastly improved avionics, air defense, engines, and flight crew.
The B52 of today is vastly more capable than the early models. The airframe itself is largely the same but then the laws of physics and aerodynamics haven’t changed much since 1950.
Three cheers for the BUFF’s and the fathers and their sons who have flown them.
Not to the Air force.
How about reviving the B-58 Hustler? One bad-ass looking bomber.
Actually, that comment was made by an F-16 pilot who, although running low on fuel, was put into a holding pattern to allow that B-52 with one engine out to make an “emergency” landing.