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๐—จ๐—ฃ๐—š๐—ฅ๐—”๐——๐—˜๐—— ๐—•-๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฎ๐—› ๐—ช๐—œ๐—Ÿ๐—Ÿ ๐—•๐—˜๐—–๐—ข๐— ๐—˜ ๐—•-๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฎ๐— ๐—”๐—ก๐—— ๐—™๐—Ÿ๐—ฌ ๐—œ๐—ก๐—ง๐—ข ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฌ'๐˜€

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

The Air Force's B-52H's , the youngest having been built in 1962, will be upgraded with a host of new systems, including new engines, a powerful new AESA radar, new avionics and new weapons capabilities. The cost of these upgrades could exceed $10 billion. When the upgrades are complete on 76 of the B-52's, the Air Force is considering redesignating them from B-52H to B-52J.

The upgraded B-52's, already the Air Force's longest range bomber, are expected to gain about 20 percent in range due to new, more efficient and environmentally friendly engines. These B-52's are projected to fly well into the 2050's. The upgrades include:

๐๐ž๐ฐ ๐„๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฌ

The new engines must be in the same thrust range of existing Pratt & Whitney TF-33 engines - about 17,000 lbf. per engine. General Electric will offer the 18,000- to 20,000-pound thrust CF34-10 engine (used by various regional airliners) or the similarly rated Passport engine in the Bombardier Global 7500 business jet. Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce will also likely compete to supply the new engines.

Along with increased reliability and efficiency, the 8 engines will need to produce a combined total of 400 to 500 kilovolt Amperes (kVA) to meet the increased energy requirements of the new avionics, radar, etc. Note: The original B-52H had 240 kVA electrical generation capacity.

๐๐ž๐ฐ ๐‘๐š๐๐š๐ซ

For the new radar, Northrop Grumman is offering the AN/APG-83 scalable agile beam radar (SABR) system currently used on the F-16 and other aircraft. Raytheon is offering an AESA based on technology and hardware from the AN/APG-63(v)3, AN/APG-79, and AN/APG-82.


B-52H's are in the process of being upgraded with Boeing's Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT). Other upgrades to communications, electronics warfare, electronic countermeasures, etc. will be part of the upgrades the B-52 will receive going forward.

As reported in Air and Space Forces Magazine, Col. Louis Ruscetta, senior materiel leader for the program, told reporters attending the Air Force Material Command's Life Cycle Industry Day Conference in Dayton, Ohio that the radar and engine upgrades represent โ€œthe largest modification in the history.โ€

FYI, since the B-52H's first took to the skies in the early 1960's, the cost of their upgrades / modernization far exceeds their initial purchase price of $98 million (2018 dollars ) per airplane.

This makes the B-52J's very, very expensive, but for the capability they provide they may be more cost effective than a new "clean design" conventional bomber.

๐‘บ๐’ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’–๐’‘๐’ˆ๐’“๐’‚๐’…๐’†๐’”, ๐’Œ๐’Š๐’…๐’” ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† 2050'๐’” ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’š ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•, ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’• ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’‡๐’‚๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‡๐’๐’๐’˜๐’ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’–๐’‚๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’๐’†๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’š ๐’”๐’†๐’† ๐’‡๐’๐’š๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’•๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚.

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