USAF to Audition $11 Billion B-52 Makeover for Airborne Electronic Attack Platform Written 30 August 2023


B-52 out of Edwards Air Force Base. | Credit: U.S. Air Force, Christopher Okula; Wikipedia; Public Domain

Aviation Week reports that as “an $11 billion makeover of Boeing B-52 engines, sensors and electronics continues, the Stratofortress has won a chance to audition for a role as an airborne electronic attack platform.” Next year’s planned demonstration “of an RTX ALQ-249 midband jammer pod proposes a new – albeit slightly familiar – mission for the 71-year-old fleet.” Originally fielded “during the early years of the Cold War as a penetrating strategic bomber, the rechristened B-52J is being upgraded by the Air Force to serve for several more decades as an airborne launcher for dozens of long-range missiles, including the nuclear-tipped RTX AGM-181 Long-Range Standoff Weapon and conventional hypersonic cruise missiles in development.” Now the Air Force “is considering other supporting roles for a 75-strong fleet of eight-engine bombers that can carry up to 70,000-lb. each.” The Air Force “abandoned two attempts to convert B-52s into standoff jammers 15-20 years ago, but it plans to revisit the idea for a third time next year with several new twists.”

Full Story (Aviation Week)