Author Topic: Six B-52's Upgraded  (Read 10756 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Six B-52's Upgraded
« on: January 14, 2016, 20:00:27 »
Six B-52's from Barksdale have had their weapons bay upgraded giving them added capability and no doubt enhances survivability.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2016/01/14/B-52-bombers-get-new-weapons-capability/3231452792042/

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. B-52 bombers now have a new weapons capability through the use of upgraded internal weapons bay launchers from Boeing.
 
The upgraded weapons bays, which can be transferred from one aircraft to another, have been installed on six bombers at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and enable the B-52s to carry GPS-guided or "smart" weapons in their internal weapons bay for the first time.

"The upgrades to the B-52 bomber's internal weapons bay have made it possible to have zero gap on the bomber's long-range bombing capabilities as we transfer from Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles to Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range," said Col. Tim Dickinson, B-52 Program Director with the U.S. Air Force.
 
The upgrade involves modifying the existing common strategic rotary launcher in the internal weapons bay into a conventional rotary launcher, which increases the number of smart weapons the B-52 can carry and deliver, Boeing said.

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 23:35:20 »
Someone has been reading a lot of Dale Brown. ;D
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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 04:39:21 »
I suddenly picture one of those scenes from the carpet bombings during Vietnam, but with smart bombs instead, which is a deadly picture
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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 18:40:57 »
Insert disclaimer statement here....

:panzer:

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 18:51:33 »
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2016, 10:56:15 »
....but with smart bombs instead, which is a deadly picture
The bombs remain only as smart as the intelligence, targeteering, and crew/guidance chain supporting the mission.  I assure you, there's no shortage of potential weak links.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2016, 19:26:56 »
I think the ultimate upgrade would be to convert a couple of B52's as drone carriers.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2016, 08:27:35 »
The idea of an arsenal aircraft has been floated by Secretary Carter using the B-52 platform most likely.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/news/a19262/pentagon-announces-arsenal-plane-platform/

The Arsenal Plane takes this same concept and puts it in the air. An ideal Arsenal Plane would be a large platform with long range and mid-air refueling capability. The plane would need to be equipped with Link 16, a digital datalink system used by the U.S. military and allied ships, planes and ground forces to communicate with one another and share information.

But most importantly, the Arsenal Plane needs to be, well, a flying arsenal. Lumbering, non-stealthy and slow, the Arsenal Plane would carry long-range standoff missiles such as the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) during missions against enemies with modern air defenses, or precision-guided bombs in theaters such as Afghanistan or Iraq where the enemy's air defenses are limited or non-existent.

Offline MarkOttawa

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"Arsenal plane" being developed for USAF
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2016, 12:52:38 »
BUFFs (almost) forever:

Quote
DOD reveals ‘arsenal plane’...in budget speech

The Pentagon is developiong a repurposed “arsenal plane” that would carry large volumes of bombs and missiles into battle alongside modern combat aircraft like the Lockheed Martin F-35.

...[The project was] revealed in a budget speech by defence secretary Ashton Carter, ahead of a $582.7 billion fiscal year 2017 budget proposal to be unveiled next week.

Carter says the arsenal airplane and mircodrone are being developed under the “strategic capabilities office” that was setup in 2012 for rapid development and fielding of new technologies.

“[Arsenal plane] takes one of our oldest aircraft platforms, and turns it into a flying launch pad for all sorts of different conventional payloads,” Carter says. “In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, networked to fifth-generation aircraft that acts as forward sensor and targeting nodes – essentially combining different systems already in our inventory to create wholly new capabilities.”..
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/dod-reveals-arsenal-plane-and-microdrones-in-budge-421516/

More here:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/news/a19262/pentagon-announces-arsenal-plane-platform/

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: "Arsenal plane" being developed for USAF
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 13:33:06 »

Offline Lumber

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 14:14:46 »
Quote
“In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine target..."

Fixed that for him.

But in all honestly, this sounds cool, and very similar to how warships can be special purposed for the role. I'm thinking of the USS San Jacinto, who in the gulf war, was fully loaded with nothing but Tomahawks (and I'm assuming Harpoons, since they're different launchers). I imagine that these platform will repalce the need to have Ohio-Class SSGNs, or Ticos, which are much more expensive, much slower to get in theatre, and nigh impossible to re-arm away from home port.

It's safe as long as you have air superiority, so I hope that these Arsenal planes are well protected.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 15:56:25 »
How the arsenal plane relates to other concepts the United States is persuing. While the bulk of the article is about ships and other platforms, the goal seems to be finding ways to deliver swarms of weapons at a target to overwhelm it. Large carrier vehicles are one piece of the puzzle. I recall during the darkest days of the Cold War ideas like using Boeing 747's as carrier aircraft with up to 30 cruise missiles aboard, and Arsenal ships carrying 500 missiles. Given that smart, long range weapons can be much smaller today, you could certainly be able to overwhelm enemies with massive launches of munitions (this works even better when changes in management, procurement and mass production allow for weapons and rounds to become much cheaper as well. Remember, you smart phone, which incorporate a radio and wifi receiver, accererometer, camera, microphone, digital memory and other high tech devices costs @ $600.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/02/us-military-buildup-of-9-more-virginia.html

Quote
US military buildup of 9 more Virginia class submarines, robotic boats, microdrones and more to counter China and Russia's military
 
Ash Carter, the Pentagon chief, said the US has ambitious plans for military spending on sophisticated weaponry for fiscal year 2017. These were partly designed with China in mind.
 
“We’re making all these investments that you see in our defense budget that are specifically oriented towards checking the development of the Chinese military,” Carter said.
 
To stave off China’s increasing military power, including its ship killing missiles and electronic warfare, the $582.7 billion defense budget request calls for major spending on cyber security, more firepower for submarines, new robotic boats and underwater vessels as well as new missile interceptors to be installed on American warships.
 
In his speech, Carter said both Russia and China were “developing weapons and ways of war that seek to achieve their objectives rapidly, before — they hope — we can respond.” The military spending was aimed at placing a higher priority on the threats posed by both powers, he said.
 
$71.4 billion will be spent on military research and development in 2017.
 
The Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) is doing a lot of the weapons research.
 
First is a project focused on advanced navigation. What the SCO's doing is taking the same kinds of micro-cameras, sensors, MEMS [microelectromechanical systems], and so forth that are littered throughout our smartphones and everything today, and putting them on our small diameter bombs to augment the existing target capabilities on the SDB. This will eventually be a modular kit that will work with many other payloads, enabling off network targeting through commercial components, small enough to hold in your hand like your phone, and cheap enough to own like your phone.
 
Another project uses swarming autonomous vehicles in all sorts of ways and in multiple domains. In the air, they develop micro-drones that are really fast, really resistant. They can fly through heavy winds and be kicked out the back of a fighter jet moving at Mach 0.9, like they did during an operational exercise in Alaska last year, or they can be thrown into the air by a soldier in the middle of the Iraqi desert. And for the water, they've developed self-driving boats which can network together to do all kinds of missions, from fleet defense to close-in surveillance, without putting sailors at risk. Each one of these leverages the wider world of technology. For example, the microdrones use a lot of commercial components and are actually 3-D printed and the boats build on some of the same artificial intelligence algorithms that long-ago and in a much more primitive form were on the Mars lander.

There is a project for gun-based missile defense, where we're taking some of the same hypervelocity smart projectiles that we developed for the electromagnetic gun. That's the railgun. And using it for point defense. By firing it with artillery, we already have in our inventory, including the five-inch guns on the front of every Navy destroyer and also the hundreds of Army Paladin self-propelled howitzers. In this way, instead of spending more money on more expensive interceptors or on new platforms, we can turn past offense into future defense – defeating incoming missile raids at a much lower cost per round and thereby imposing higher costs on an attacker. In fact, we tested the first shots of the hypervelocity projectile out of a Paladin a little over a month ago, and we also found that it significantly increases the Paladin's range.
 
And the last project I want to highlight is one that we're calling the arsenal plane, which takes one of our oldest aircraft platform and turns it into a flying launchpad for all sorts of different conventional payloads. In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, network to fifth generation aircraft that act as forward sensor and targeting nodes, essentially combining different systems already in our inventory to create holy new capabilities.
 
The defense budget invests over $8.1 billion in 2017 and more than $40 billion over the next five years to give us the most lethal undersea and any submarine force in the world. It buys more advanced maritime control aircraft. And it not only buys nine of our most advanced Virginia-class attack submarines over the next five years; it also equips –more of them with the versatile Virginia Payload Module, which triples each submarine platform’s strike capacity from 12 Tomahawk missiles to 40.
 
The US is investing more in cyber, totaling nearly $7 billion in 2017, and almost $35 billion over the next five years. Among other things, this will help to further DOD's network defenses, which is critical; build more training ranges for our cyber warriors; and also develop cyber tools and infrastructure needed to provide offensive cyber options.
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 13:24:05 »
Lots more on arsenal planes (and fighters):

Quote
The Air Force Is Finally Getting The Flying Arsenal Ship It Badly Needs
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-air-force-is-getting-a-flying-arsenal-ship-and-that-1756856445

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Offline S.M.A.

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"Arsenal plane" considered by US DoD to assist other stealth planes
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2016, 12:05:36 »
The arsenal plane/missile truck concept again:

RT

Quote
Pentagon considering ‘arsenal plane’ program to assist less-armed stealth planes
Published time: 9 Feb, 2016 05:03

A semi-secret Pentagon plan to convert old war planes into “flying launchpads” or “arsenal planes” to aid stealthier, less weapons-capable planes was mentioned by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a speech outlining a $583 billion military budget for 2017.


Speaking to the non-profit Economic Club of Washington on February 2, Secretary Carter brought up the little-known Strategic Capabilities Office, something “we don’t often talk about,” he said.

“I created SCO in 2012 when I was deputy secretary of defense to reimagine existing DoD, intelligence community, and commercial systems by giving them new roles and game-changing capabilities to confound potential opponents,” Carter said. “The emphasis here was on rapidity of fielding, not 10 and 15-year programs. Getting stuff in the field quickly.”

(...SNIPPED)
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Offline S.M.A.

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"Arsenal Plane" concept unveiled by USAF at air power symposium
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 12:36:40 »
More on the arsenal plane concept mentioned above on the last post:

Flight Global

Quote
USAF flaunts ‘arsenal plane’ concept at Air Warfare Symposium

    26 February, 2016 BY: James Drew Orlando

The US Air Force has offered an artist’s impression of the Pentagon’s “arsenal plane” concept in a video presented by service secretary Deborah Lee James at an Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida today.

(...SNIPPED)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 12:47:38 by S.M.A. »
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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2017, 12:40:54 »
http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a14501568/air-force-install-new-engines-b-52-bomber/?src=nl&mag=pop&list=nl_pnl_news&date=122717

The Air Force Wants to Install New Engines on the B-52 Bomber - Kyle Mizokami - 26 Dec 1
The old warhorse needs new a new propulsion system to stay viable.

America’s fleet of B-52H Stratofortress nuclear bombers are on track to outlast their engines, and the planes need new ones to remain viable past 2030. The U.S. Air Force, which received its first B-52H during the Kennedy administration, wants to replace existing engines with cheaper, more power ones to keep the lumbering jets flying into all the way into the 2040s.

The B-52H is the last of the family of B-52 Stratofortress bombers to remain in U.S. service. The first -H model was delivered in 1961, and 76 of the original 102 bombers still fly with U.S. Air Force active and reserve units. The bombers have a range of 8,800 miles, giving them the ability to conduct strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations worldwide. The bombers are capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional cruise missiles, and are set to carry the new Long Range Stand Off nuclear-tipped cruise missile in the future.

The B-52H fleet is still using its original Pratt & Whitney TF33-103 engines. Two of which hang off each of the bomber’s four engine stations, giving each aircraft eight such engines that combine to generate up to 136,000 pounds of thrust. As powerful as they are, the Pratt & Whitneys are growing old and increasingly difficult to maintain, and they have missed half a century of aircraft engine development. At $69,708 an hour to fly, the B-52 is an expensive bird to keep in the air. New engines could generate even more thrust, require less maintenance, and cost less per hour to fly.

Aviation Week & Space Technology says that the Air Force wants to replace the TF-33-103 with a new commercial engine, like those used on commercial airliners, with a “20-40% improvement in fuel consumption compared to the TF33.” The new engine should also generate even more electricity for onboard systems, perhaps powering defensive lasers to shoot down air-to-air missiles. In the past, the Air Force has toyed with the idea of consolidating the number of engines to four to save weight and simplify things, but eight engines will provide more thrust and electrical power.

The Air Force has had on-again, off-again plans to reengine the B-52H fleet for decades, but the service’s 2018 budget finally provides funding for an early study. According to AvWeek, new engines would go on the first ten bombers around 2026, with the remaining 66 bombers refitted in the 2028-2034 time frame. The bombers would ideally stick around in Air Force service until 2050 or so, making them approximately 90 years old at their time of retirement.

Read more at Aviation Week & Space Technology
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2018, 15:23:51 »
New Canadian-made engines for nuclear-armed B-52s?  What might Justin Trudeau and Liberals think?

Quote
U.S. Air Force Boost B-52 Funding For Engine Replacement
Feb 22, 2018

The U.S. Air Force has requested funding and authorization from Congress to launch one of the largest military reengining programs since the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker.

The service’s fiscal 2019 budget request seeks more than $1 billion through fiscal 2023 for a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress propulsion system replacement program. The initiative would replace the Pratt & Whitney TF33-103, which has powered the H-model B-52 since its introduction in 1960. But unlike the KC-135R refueling aircraft upgrade, which swapped four TF33s for four CFM International CFM56s, the Air Force is shooting for a straight “eight for eight” swap on the B-52, rather than attempting to install four large high-bypass turbofans.

This is a major opportunity for turbofan manufacturers GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and potentially Safran, which are now lining up to compete...

The company [Pratt] has expressed preference for a TF33 upgrade, but may decide to offer the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800-series turbofan, depending on whether the Air Force allows foreign participation. The PW800 powers Gulfstream’s latest business aircraft, the 15,100-lb.-thrust PW814 for the G500 and 15,700-lb.-thrust PW815 for the G600...


The TF33 has powered the B-52H since its introduction in 1960, but it is unsupportable beyond 2030, the Air Force says. Credit: U.S. Air Force
http://aviationweek.com/combat-aircraft/us-air-force-boost-b-52-funding-engine-replacement

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2018, 14:57:30 »
BUFF forever--and now the B-52J!

Quote
U.S. Air Force Mulls B-52 Upgrade Effort

The U.S. Air Force may formalize plans for a B-52J upgrade variant of its venerable bomber, and briefed industry on the potential effort during a platform update at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, Aerospace DAILY has learned.

 Col. Lance Reynolds, B-1 and B-52 systems program manager, told attendees during an industry update in August that the B-52J is a “potential future effort,” according to presentation slides. Some proponents have previously suggested the “J” designation for a modified B-52, specifically for an “arsenal plane” variant concept floated in 2016. But the update documents presented at Tinker are thought to be the first time that the proposed B-52J title has been used publicly by the Air Force.

The presentation slides outline several small upgrades. They include a defensive systems and avionics modernization, a crash-survivable flight data recorder, a weapons system trainer, advanced targeting pod relocation and an ejection seat.

The service remains mum on the new project. Air Force spokeswoman Carla Pampe said in a statement to Aerospace DAILY that she does not have any information at this time on the B-52J designation.

It is unclear if the B-52 re-engining initiative will form part of the potential B-52J upgrade effort or will stay solely under the B-52H umbrella.
http://aviationweek.com/defense/us-air-force-mulls-b-52-upgrade-effort

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Re: Six B-52's Upgraded
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2018, 17:26:25 »
It's almost at the point where they should just do a production run of new B-52s.

Sure they have new wings, new engines, new avionics, etc etc - but the structure of the airframes are still OOOLLLLLDDDDD.

I don't know how much of the actual fuselage structure is replaced or upgraded during the SLEP programs, so perhaps the skeleton of the airframe is in better shape than I'd expect. 


But even with new wings, engines, avionics, etc etc -- wouldn't the actual structure be starting to decay?  Literally?  (Rust, etc.)



The B-52 is a pretty basic aircraft in terms of building.  Not like an F-22 or F-35...  surely perhaps a production run of 50 or 60 may be a consideration considering these current airframes will be 60 to 70yrs old by the time they are retired?
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