It’s Official: The Re-Engined B-52 Would be the B-52J

As soon as they obtain their new Rolls Royce F130 engines, B-52Hs will change into B-52Js, in keeping with the Air Pressure’s fiscal 2024 price range paperwork.

The designation resolves a query that had been debated for a number of years, because the B-52 undergoes a few of the most important enhancements within the H mannequin’s 61-year service life.

“Any B-52H plane modified with the brand new business engines and related subsystems are designated as B-52J,” the Air Pressure mentioned in justification paperwork for its 2024 price range request.

The service had been contemplating numerous designations for the improved Stratofortress, as a result of along with new engines, the B-52 can even be receiving a brand new radar, in addition to new communications and navigation gear and weapons, amongst different enhancements supposed to maintain it credible and succesful via the 2050s.

Given the variety of main adjustments, International Strike Command had thought of utilizing interim designations—“J” mannequin plane would have then change into B-52Ks.

One of many improved weapons the B-52 was imagined to get was the hypersonic AGM-183 Air-Launched Speedy Response Weapon (ARRW), however within the 2024 price range, the Air Pressure mentioned it’s shifting to “shut out” this system after a pair extra checks and shift its emphasis to the Hypersonic Assault Cruise Missile (HACM).

The B-52 re-engining venture title has additionally advanced from the Industrial Engine Substitute Program (CERP) to CERP RVP, for Speedy Digital Prototyping, the Air Pressure mentioned in its price range request.

The re-engining effort was launched as a mid-tier acquisition with a view to save time and get functionality sooner. This system will change into a Main Functionality Acquisition on the finish of the RVP effort, the Air Pressure mentioned.

The upgrades can even open the door to different adjustments, USAF famous.

“As B-52 CERP brings extra functionality to the B-52, rising safety/certification necessities (nuclear hardening, cyber safety, program safety, and so forth.) can even should be addressed. A number of concurrent plane upgrades through the B-52 CERP could necessitate short-term services or facility upgrades/ modifications.”

The Air Pressure is asking for practically $3 billion in B-52 procurement throughout the longer term years protection plan, beginning with a modest $65.82 million in 2024 however ramping as much as over $1.1 billion every in 2027 and 2028.

Of the general quantity, the Radar Modernization Program alone claims $845.9 million, peaking in ’27 at $271.95 million. Individually—not included within the procurement account—analysis, growth, take a look at, and analysis related to the Radar Modernization Program is requested at $371 million, ending in 2026. The RMP procurement funding is to acquire 74 radar kits, three coaching programs kits, and two engineering and manufacturing growth kits.

The brand new radar is a variant of the Raytheon AN/APG-79, an energetic, electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar used on the Navy’s F/A-18 Tremendous Hornet fighter. It replaces the APG-166, which the Air Pressure says suffers from extreme “vanishing vendor” points and elements issues that may make the radar “unsupportable” earlier than 2030.

Apart from a dramatic enchancment in maintainability, the AESA will add vital new capabilities in search, floor mapping, and digital warfare. The brand new radar’s bodily footprint can be a lot smaller than the system it replaces, creating development capability within the entrance of the plane. The B-52’s nose-mounted electro-optical blisters might be eliminated and a brand new radome put in with the brand new radar.

The re-engining program is funded for $2.56 billion, all within the RDT&E price range, peaking at $650.5 million in 2025. This system seeks to exchange the original-equipment Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines with Rolls Royce F130s. The change is anticipated to finally pay for itself via 30 p.c higher gasoline effectivity and elimination of engine overhauls, because the F130 is not going to want an overhaul in the course of its anticipated life on the B-52 wing.

“Together with the brand new engines, CERP will substitute related subsystems, similar to engine struts and nacelles, {the electrical} energy technology system, and cockpit shows,” the Air Pressure mentioned. “The event, manufacturing and set up of latest engines and associated subsystems will substitute the legacy gear on all 76 B-52H plane.”

Together with monies expended to this point, the full price of the B-52 CERP Center Tier of Acquisition effort might be $1.32 billion, together with RDT&E, the Air Pressure mentioned.

The Air Pressure expects B-52Js with each new engines and new radars to be accessible for operational use earlier than the tip of the last decade.