HomeNewsArticle Display

B-52 upgrade to increase smart-weapons capacity

Tinker Air Force Base maintainers at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex will work with Boeing to perform an upgrade to the B-52, which will increase it's smart-weapon capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie)

Tinker Air Force Base maintainers at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex will work with Boeing to perform an upgrade to the B-52, which will increase it's smart-weapon capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) --

Tinker AFB Airmen will update ground maintenance and mission planning software in support of a new Air Force contract that will increase the B-52 Stratofortress's "smart-weapons" capacity by 50 percent.

The $24.6 million agreement stipulates that Boeing will develop a modification to existing weapon launchers so the aircraft can carry smart weapons in the bomb bay, which will enable aircrews to use the B-52's entire weapons capacity.

"With this modification, we're converting the bomb bay from dropping just gravity-type bombs to releasing precision-guided weapons," said Jennifer Hogan of Boeing Communications.

"When you combine that ability with the B-52's unlimited range with air refueling, you have an efficient and versatile weapon system that is valuable to warfighters on the ground," said Scot Oathout, the Boeing's B-52 program director. "This weapons capacity expansion joins the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) program, a comprehensive communication upgrade that's being installed on the aircraft, to give the warfighter even more flexibility."

Boeing will produce three prototype launchers for test and evaluation. Initial capability is expected in March 2016, and potential follow-on efforts could add more weapons and allow a mixed load of different types of weapons.

Upon completion of the first phase of the upgrade, the B-52 will be able to carry two dozen 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions or twenty 2,000-pound JDAMs. Later phases will add the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, and its extended-range variant, as well as the Miniature Air Launched Decoy, or MALD, and its jammer variant.

The bomb bay renovation will enable the B-52 to carry all of its weapons internally, thereby increasing fuel efficiency in flight. The modernization work will use parts from existing Air Force rotary launchers repurposed for conventional missions, as well as hardware and software already developed for the wing pylons.

Engineers from the 76th Software Maintenance Group, 557th Software Maintenance Squadron, B-52 Software Avionics Flight here, are modifying the 1760 Integrated Weapon Bay Upgrade, or IWBU Ground Maintenance Computer Program to test out the additional Integrated Weapon Interface Unit being added in the bay location on the B-52 in order to launch additional weapons from the weapons bay location.

The primary function of the Ground Maintenance Computer Program is to test the B-52 Offensive Avionics System Prime Mission Equipment that is capable of communicating with the Avionics Control Units via the MIL-STD-1553A data busses and the Fiber Channel. The Ground Maintenance Computer Program will detect faults and aid in fault isolation of Prime Mission Equipment Line Replaceable Units on the aircraft. The GMCP software will execute within the Avionics Control Units and communicate with the Line Replaceable Units via the MIL-STD-1553A data busses and the Fiber Channel. Ground testing of this effort will occur in late 2014.

In addition, engineers from the 76th SMXG, 557th SMXS, B-52 Software Avionics Flight are transitioning mission-planning software from a unix-based Mission Planning System to a Windows-based Joint Mission Planning System. The B-52 JMPS Unique Program Component v1.0 software release will include conventional mission planning support for B-52 Software Blocks 04 and 05. It also adds capability for all variants of JDAM, JASSM and MALD at the bay location to support capability added by the 1760 IWBU program. Formal Qualification Testing will be accomplished by July 2014, and the software will fielded by July 2015.

The CONECT system will enable Stratofortress aircrews to send and receive information via satellite links, which will enable them to change mission plans and retarget weapons while in flight; currently, mission information must be uploaded to a B-52 before a flight. In addition, pilots will be able to interact better with other aircraft and with ground forces.

Other improvements will include a state-of-the-art computing network with workstations at each crew position and an integrated digital interphone with increased capacity that will allow crew members to talk to each other on headsets equipped with noise-canceling technology.

The $76 million CONECT upgrade installation will be performed during programmed depot maintenance by the 565th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, while Boeing will provide the low-rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance and service at Tinker AFB.

The B-52H was delivered to the Air Force in 1961-62. Those aircraft have been kept aloft through regular maintenance and periodic upgrades. For example, GPS capabilities were incorporated into their navigation systems in the late 1980s. Citing engineering studies, Air Force officials have said the heavy bombers could keep flying for at least another quarter-century.

Engage

Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: Our Airmen, Guardians, and Civil Servants have much to be proud of—their actions saved lives in Afghanistan and our country…
Twitter
#Airmen from the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load a Mk-62 Quickstrike naval mine onto a B-52 Stratofortress d… https://t.co/jaPVcg9tWa
Twitter
#DYK Today is not only Labor Day, but also #NationalReadABookDay? @GenCQBrownJr curates a Leadership Library contai… https://t.co/uITBg82KvC
Twitter
Today is #LaborDay. This holiday is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American worke… https://t.co/qijLG5cjBI
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: This Labor Day, I want to highlight a couple of our teammates at the Pentagon that help us accomplish our mission. Thank yo…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Happy #LaborDay! Today, we celebrate both the achievements and resilience of America’s workers. https://t.co/3f8CBUkmqA
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you for all you do for our great nation and Air Force. Happy Labor Day Weekend, stay safe. https://t.co/5L67tcVYcl
Twitter
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center plans to expand its Rapid Airfield Damage Repair training, by opening two more… https://t.co/fAKDYzIn0v
Twitter
Staff Sgt. Angela Martinez is an @EielsonAirForce operations manager by trade, but during a Base Resiliency Exercis… https://t.co/NEkZLjMRtY
Twitter
The Air Force Test Pilot School graduated its Enlisted Test Professional Course for the first time since 2018. The… https://t.co/fnDQKAtcQ0
Twitter
Within 24 hours, @RamsteinAirBase's Southside Fitness Center Annex was transformed into a field hospital, complete… https://t.co/VQwoIV29EU
Twitter
710th Security Forces Squadron Airmen stationed @Buckley_SFB, Colo., conducted heavy weapons training at Fort Carso… https://t.co/wbpjoAKXXo
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: As we begin our Labor Day weekend, remember to lookout for your wingman, spend some quality time with your family and fri…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: As members of the nation’s Armed Forces, our Airmen and Guardians must be able to respond to situations around the globe—be…
Twitter
Slooooooow it down U.S. military members prepare for the beginning of Thracian Summer 2021 at Cheshnegirovo drop zo… https://t.co/OatiVE6j7F
Twitter
RT @AFSOUTH: #AFSOUTH vice commander, Brig. Gen. Sean Choquette, co-piloted a @FuerzaAereaCol AH-60L Arpia helicopter today as part of exer…
Twitter
Department of the Air Force announces mandatory COVID vaccine implementation guidelines for Airmen, Guardians. https://t.co/Arfo5d4yOe
Twitter
An @AFTestCenter engineer used his expertise in building drones to develop a system that brings the Benefield Anech… https://t.co/DKBVA8Isqa
Twitter
As technology swiftly evolves, so do #USAF cyber Airmen. Cyber leaders have embraced @GenCQBrownJr's vision of ac… https://t.co/cLaxcdvAeq
Twitter
The @AusAirForce joined forces with U.S. #Airmen to participate in RED FLAG-Alaska 21-3 at @EielsonAirForce, Alaska… https://t.co/lEHHU5OAst
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,373,139
Follow Us