Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

USAF Assesses B-52H For Electronic-Attack Role
Jane's Defence Weekly | December 11, 2002 | Michael Sirak

Posted on 12/10/2002 12:00:35 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen

The US Air Force (USAF) wants to equip its B-52H Stratofortress bombers with the capability to jam enemy air defences.

The aircraft, already 50 years old and expected to operate to 2040, is part of the multi-platform solution the service envisions to fill the void left when, at the end of the decade, the US Navy begins to retire the EA-6B Prowler electronic jammer aircraft, on which the USAF relies.

USAF officials said the modified B-52H, along with electronic attack-capable unmanned combat air vehicles and a jammer variant of the expendable Miniature Air-Launched Decoy, would provide the effects the service wants to confuse, overwhelm and incapacitate enemy air defences once the Prowlers are phased out.

The latter have been the sole stand-in airborne jamming capability available to the USAF since it retired its fleet of F-4G Wild Weasel and EF-111A Raven aircraft in the 1990s. The navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) each operate four four-aircraft EA-6B expeditionary squadrons that support the USAF, in addition to the Prowlers they fly for their own needs. Altogether there are 122 Prowlers.

The USAF is defining the requirements for the airborne electronic attack (AEA) variant of the bomber, which it notionally calls the EB-52H. The aircraft could suppress enemy air-defence capabilities while operating safely outside their range (stand-off jamming), or could lead a strike package over hostile territory (stand-in), and remain there for long periods (stand-on), according to officials in the USAF's Air Combat Command (ACC).

"That is exactly why we think the B-52 is great for this [role]," said Terry Bott, deputy chief of the B-52 Weapon System Team in the ACC's directorate of requirements. "Not only that, we can also bring in the electronic-warfare capability, and right along with it, a very large load of weapons" to attack the air defences and targets of opportunity that may emerge.

The USAF has 94 B-52Hs, with 85 in its active force and nine in reserve. Chief Master Sgt Timothy Finch, the ACC's B-52 weapon system team superintendent, told Jane's Defence Weekly that the service has not determined how many B-52Hs it would modify.

The proposed modifications would encompass replacing the aircraft's external tip tanks with a yet-to-be-determined jamming 'pod', he said.

Final approval to proceed with the EB-52H, as well as the USAF's other next-generation AEA plans, lie with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). As JDW went to press, it had yet to issue its guidance, due by the end of 2002 as part of the Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 2004 budget preparations, on how the USAF, USMC and navy, will proceed in replacing the Prowler.

Unable to find a common AEA solution among the services, the OSD appears likely to allow each service to pursue capabilities that address its own needs. The USMC has expressed its intent to maintain its Prowler fleet to around 2015, when it may opt to procure an electronic-attack version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The navy wants to start replacing its Prowlers around 2009 with 80 to 90 EA-18G aircraft, a fully combat-capable electronic-jammer variant of Boeing's two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighter.



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: miltech

1 posted on 12/10/2002 12:00:35 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: *miltech
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
2 posted on 12/10/2002 12:04:38 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Poohbah
Better idea:

Why not pull those B-52Gs, B-1Bs, and FB-111s we retired and make them the jammers?
3 posted on 12/10/2002 12:11:02 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
The Gs aren't exactly supportable unless you re-engine them.
4 posted on 12/10/2002 12:12:05 PM PST by Poohbah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Poohbah
Well, we also need to re-engine the H models, too. Why not give `em both the same re-engine job, and get a lower price for a bigger order? :)
5 posted on 12/10/2002 12:17:11 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
The differences between the Gs and Hs aren't trivial...and there's the START treaty issue, as well.
6 posted on 12/10/2002 12:18:14 PM PST by Poohbah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
Sounds like someone's been reading "Flight of the Old Dog" by Dale Brown around the Pentagon again...
7 posted on 12/10/2002 12:20:04 PM PST by jriemer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
Why not pull those B-52Gs, B-1Bs, and FB-111s we retired and make them the jammers?

We already retired EF-111s. B-1Bs were retired because of high maintence and operations costs (money saved is used to keep the rest flying) B-52Gs would need new engines. Why not just use some old 727s or 737s retired from airline service? They can go anywhere a BUFF can, expect down low, and an EB-52 wouldn't be doing that anyway. I think we need all the -Hs models to remain bomb droppers. The coming conflagration may prove their numbers insufficient as it is.

8 posted on 12/10/2002 12:20:17 PM PST by El Gato
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Poohbah
START treaty issues?

They are electronic-warfare aircraft. Last I checked, that type of aircraft was not a part of the START treaty. Furthermore, START only applies to nuclear-capable bombers. I don't think an EB-52G would have the proper certifications for nuclear weapons, would it?

*pauses*

Okay, I admit it, I'm looking for some loopholes in the treaty. :)
9 posted on 12/10/2002 12:23:49 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: El Gato
It would not be a bad idea to start producing more B-1s and B-2s.
10 posted on 12/10/2002 12:26:55 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
They are electronic-warfare aircraft. Last I checked, that type of aircraft was not a part of the START treaty. Furthermore, START only applies to nuclear-capable bombers. I don't think an EB-52G would have the proper certifications for nuclear weapons, would it?

Can you hang a nuke inside the bomb bay?

Okay, I admit it, I'm looking for some loopholes in the treaty. :)

Good grief, man, I thought you were taking English lessons from Bill Clinton ("now this is where we determine the meaning of 'is' in this particular context").

11 posted on 12/10/2002 12:27:11 PM PST by Poohbah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Poohbah; Miss Marple; section9
"Can you hang a nuke inside the bomb bay?"

Not without removing the TALDs - and the wing racks are needed for HARMs or modified ACMs (we installed a HARM seeker and a 750-pound conventional warhead on `em). ;)

"Good grief, man, I thought you were taking English lessons from Bill Clinton ("now this is where we determine the meaning of 'is' in this particular context")."

Hey, there's a difference here: I'm looking for a loophole in an arms control treaty so we can maximize national security. Clinton was trying to duck responsibility for the fact that he couldn't refrain from getting it on with an intern in the Oval Office.

As I said earlier, the treaty does not seem to preclude converting B-52Gs into EW platforms. Kinda like Cap Weinburger calling the device used to power the X-ray laser a generator (Colin Powell's memoirs tell that story).
12 posted on 12/10/2002 12:38:25 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
Kinda like Cap Weinburger calling the device used to power the X-ray laser a generator (Colin Powell's memoirs tell that story).

To quote Abe Lincoln, calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.

13 posted on 12/10/2002 12:41:03 PM PST by Poohbah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
Seriously--weaseling on START is not going to make Mr. Putin's job any easier, and making his job harder will not endear us to him.
14 posted on 12/10/2002 12:42:30 PM PST by Poohbah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: El Gato
Why not just use some old 727s or 737s retired from airline service?

For the same reason they aren't still flying on 727s and 737s. They are much less efficient than new engines and require lots of maintenance. It would be better to lease new engines bundled with maintenance contracts if the DOD can't find the cash to buy them.

15 posted on 12/10/2002 1:25:15 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative; El Gato
Also instead of eight engines Boeing could install four engines. The efficiency improvements would pay for re-engining, because fewer tankers would need to fly to refuel them.
16 posted on 12/10/2002 1:33:32 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
Many of them were taken out into the desert and chopped up.
17 posted on 12/10/2002 1:34:40 PM PST by ArrogantBustard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard; Poohbah
Crap.

Not good news...
18 posted on 12/10/2002 1:49:04 PM PST by hchutch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard
I know all the D and F models were chopped up, but how many of the G models?
19 posted on 12/10/2002 2:27:15 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: hchutch
Nothing prior to the G models were worth keeping.
20 posted on 12/10/2002 2:28:30 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
I have a vague recollection that the number was greater than zero. A quick web search, though, doesn't provide any answers.
21 posted on 12/10/2002 2:35:56 PM PST by ArrogantBustard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
Just a thought ... how long till someone revives the old Goblin fighter concept and starts hanging armed UAV's off the bomb bays or the wing racks ?

The first flying aircraft carrier is a possibility now :)

22 posted on 12/10/2002 2:40:30 PM PST by Centurion2000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
The sooner the better. Just wish the scarf wearing prima donnas would make a decison and stick with it. The Corps wants their Prowlers back where they belong.
23 posted on 12/10/2002 5:23:51 PM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
OK, where's the pictures? Can't have a really good thread about BUFFs without some pictures.

I know, I ask a lot.

5.56mm

24 posted on 12/10/2002 5:31:02 PM PST by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
I think there's an F18 variant already underway.....F18Jor H?..dual pods...........two seater......but needs frequent stops at the airborne Texaco station, This is a nice idea but waste of an airframe that can go do other things such as deliver precision munitions at a standoff range
25 posted on 12/10/2002 5:34:32 PM PST by Sub-Driver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: M Kehoe
Ask and you shall receive....




26 posted on 12/11/2002 6:37:29 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Stand Watch Listen
Thanks for the pictures and a BUFF bump to ya.

5.56mm

27 posted on 12/11/2002 5:11:29 PM PST by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson