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September 28, 2023 4:35 am

Science And Aerospace

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U.S. Air Force Has Kicked Off The B-52’s Radar Modernization Program

B-52 new radar

B-52 new radar
A B-52 arrives at Joint Base San Antonio. The plane will bear set up of a brand new radar system at a close-by Boeing facility. (Courtesy picture by the Boeing Co.)

The B-52 Radar Modernization Program has simply began.

With the touchdown at a Boeing Co., facility in San Antonio, of a B-52 Stratofortress bomber assigned to the 307th Bomb Wing from Barksdale Air Drive Base, Louisiana, the Air Drive’s B-52 Radar Modernization Program has formally began: the plane will in truth obtain the Lively Electronically Scanned Array system (AESA).

“The arrival of this plane is an enormous deal, and alerts the start of a key a part of our effort to modernize the B-52 fleet,” mentioned Col. Louis Ruscetta, Senior Materiel Chief for the Air Drive Life Cycle Administration Middle’s B-52 Program Workplace, which is main the Radar Modernization Program, and total effort to modernize the bomber, in a public launch. “AESA will change Sixties radar know-how, and enormously improve the navigation and concentrating on capabilities of the B-52 in increased risk areas.”

As a part of the upgrades the B-52 fleet will obtain, there may be additionally the brand new radar, a modified valiant of the F/A-18EF Tremendous Hornet’s APG-79 AESA radar, that can give the BUFF (Huge Ugly Fats Fellow) enormously improved radar vary and situational consciousness, whereas taking much less area then the older mechanically scanned radar, thus leaving room for electronic warfare functions.

Along with elevated situational consciousness and navigation and concentrating on capacity, AESA is designed to be adaptable, in order that new capabilities to handle future threats, might be added by way of software program modifications.

Set up of AESA, that sees the involvement of Boeing (because the OEM – authentic tools producer) and Raytheon, is among the largest upgrades to the B-52 within the historical past of the fleet: the hassle will price roughly $2.8 billion, with IOC (preliminary operational functionality) anticipated in 2027.

Nonetheless, the brand new radar won’t be the one improve the strategic bomber fleet will obtain to stay operational via at the very least 2050. New Rolls Royce F130 engines have been chosen in 2021 to interchange the bomber’s Pratt & Whitney TF33-PW-103s, used on the Stratofortress fleet because the Sixties. Rolls-Royce has launched F130 engine testing on the firm’s outside check facility on the NASA Stennis House Middle in Mississippi, U.S. The Air Drive plans to finalize integration actions and ship the primary lot of B-52 modified plane within the 2026-2027 timeframe, with preliminary operational functionality anticipated in 2030.

The modified bomber, designated B-52J. Externally, the B-52 may even have a cleaner look, because the blisters that at the moment home the AN/ASQ-151 Electro-Optical Viewing System (EVS) might be eliminated: the EVS was used to assist crews fly safely at very low altitudes, however it was largely supplanted by the Litening and Sniper targeting pods put in on pylons underneath the bomber’s left wing.


David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, masking aviation, protection, battle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Drive, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.

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