Edwards Air Force Base, California – The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command spent time with B-52 Stratofortress combined test force officials to preview the combat capability enhancements made to the B-52H.
Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski stated, “Modernizing and sustaining the nation’s long-range strike aviation capability is a top priority for the command”.
Kowalski also emphasized that this is the “Year of the B-52″, marking both the 50th anniversary of the last delivery of a B-52H to Minot Air Force base, N.D., and the 60th anniversary of the first test flight of the YB-52 prototype.
He attributed the reliability and combat capability of the dual-role bomber to talented maintenance personnel, outstanding depot support and the Air Force’s continued investment in the airframe.
The B-52H is a dual-capable aircraft designed to carry a variety of weapons in support of a range of military operations. It has been projected for a number of upgrades, which have already been made to the two B-52H test aircraft at Edwards AFB.
These upgrades are integral to ensuring the B-52H is both effective and able to fully integrate with other services as envisioned in the Air-Sea Battle concept, according to command officials.
Among the upgrades is a guided “smart weapon” capability in the B-52H’s internal weapons bay that provides a 66 percent increase in guided weapons payloads. Another current program is an upgrade to the latest advanced targeting pod, which will increase the B-52H effectiveness when performing close air support and other missions.
The new defense strategy places a greater emphasis on the Pacific, Kowalski said, making it important that U.S. bombers are fully networked and integrated with the joint force.
“Long-range, payload, persistence … these three attributes underlie key capabilities provided by Global Strike Command’s B-2 Spirit and B-52H fleet,” said Col. Rick Mitchell, the command’s bomber requirements division chief. “These attributes become increasingly important to combat the ‘tyranny of distance’ posed by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
These digital enhancements will ensure the viability of the B-52H well into the 21st century, Mitchell said.
B-52H Stratofortress is a strategic bomber capable of supporting large-scale, global missions in a nuclear or a conventional role. Bring home beautifully-crafted desktop B-52H model airplanes available from Showcase Models.
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — In battlefields around the world there have been many weapons at the U.S. military’s disposal, the deadliest of which is the B-52H Stratofortress.
With eight turbojet engines and a swept-wing configuration, the B-52H can deliver an extremely accurate and deadly bombardment. The 2nd Maintenance Squadron ensures these aircraft are ready to complete these missions and get the aircrew home safely.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Vogan, 2 MXS dock chief, manages the Phase Hangar. This is where the B-52H receives routine inspections and repairs to ensure it’s mission ready at all times.
“We receive the aircraft from the flightline when 450 flight hours have accumulated on the airframe,” said Vogan. “This is when the aircraft is due for a major inspection. We take the aircraft apart and inspect each piece to find any discrepancies and fix them.”
Each B-52H is typically in the Phase Hangar for 25 to 29 calendar days and undergoes a 14-day inspection, which involves Airmen from different Air Force Specialty Codes. The Airmen typically receive one bomber per month and up to 11 per year.
“We operate out of a 69,000 square foot, two-bay hangar, and we can house and work on two B-52Hs simultaneously,” Vogan said. “We can close the doors to the hangar and work in any weather. It doesn’t hamper or stop the mission from being done.”
Once the aircraft arrives, but before it enters the hangar, it undergoes various pre-checks on the flightline. Crew chiefs do a fuel boost pump check to ensure fuel pumps operate properly. Electricians conduct bleed air leak checks on the environmental systems to ensure the shut-off and anti-ice valves work correctly. Engine specialists follow with an audible ignition check on the ignition system. Any discrepancies found on the flightline are then logged to be fixed later during the main inspection inside the hangar.
“After those initial checks are done, the aircraft is moved to the corrosion control facility, which is next door to the hangar,” Vogan said. “The aircraft is X-rayed by our non-destructive inspection team, where they check for cracks in the skin.”
The aircraft is then moved into the Phase Hangar. Discrepancies found during the first five days in the hangar are looked over by quality assurance teams.
The QA teams inspect the work and document discrepancies the maintenance teams may have missed. The repair phase takes place during days six through nine, where any problems found by QA are fixed. Operations checks are conducted on days 10 through 14, during which all systems are turned on to ensure they are in proper working order.
The maintenance teams typically find between 2,600 to 2,900 issues with each aircraft per inspection, said Vogan. All of these are fixed or repaired, a testament to the skill and knowledge of Barksdale’s 2nd Maintenance Squadron, the efforts of which have kept the B-52Hs in service for the last 60 years.
“Without us, the mission would definitely grind to a halt,” Vogan said. “With no one to maintain and check these aircraft, they would fall apart. With these aircraft as old as they are, they need the phase inspection to ensure their serviceability.”
News Source: Bossierpress.com
Air Force says the iconic heavy bomber aircraft back in the Cold War could easily still be flying in the year 2040. Those who grew in the 1960s and 1970s knew how the B-52 Stratofortress protracted an alliance between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
Thankfully, even the nuclear-tinged Cold War has come, the B-52 is still going strong – and this is after a half-century of service.
Built by the Boeing Military Airplane Co., the B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform in a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations. All B-52s can be equipped with two electro-optical viewing sensors, a forward-looking infrared and advanced targeting pods to augment targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety, thus further improving its combat ability.
Based on the Air Force engineering studies, the B-52 Stratofortress life span could even extend beyond 2040. At that point, why not aim for a centennial age?
2012 has been dubbed the Year of B-52 Bomber by the Air Force. The B-52 will reach several milestone this year including, the 60th anniversary of the B-52′s first flight. The prototype of B-52 took its first ever flight sixty years ago last Sunday. Other milestones include the 50th anniversary of the last B-52 Bomber to roll off the production line. It is an H- model and the 755th B-52 ever built. As soon as the newest B-52 entered the fleet, all the Strategic Air Bombers was put on full alert status because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Another milestone is the 40th anniversary in December of Linebacker II bombing campaign over Vietnam where the B-52 bomber participated heavily.
The Barskdale’s Eight Air Force Museum plans to erect a monument to remember all the crew members who died, taken prisoners or wounded in the 24 units of B-52 that were shot down or damaged during the campaign.
“The Year of the B-52 is a series of milestones we will celebrate, throughout the year,” said Maj. Dave Donatelli II, whose flight specialty is as an electronic-warfare officer, or E-Dub, on the B-52s but who now works in the Commanders Action Group of Air Force Global Strike Command. “I love the jet.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Peyton Cole, a former 2nd Bomb Wing commander who flew the epic around-the-world sortie that included a near-midair nighttime collision with an Egyptian 747 over the Mediterranean as his final flight hails the B-52 as one of the best airplanes ever built.
Originally, the mission of the jet is to carry nuclear weapons for deterrence during the Cold War. But through time the mission has evolved. Cole adds that “The B-52 has been a wonderful flying box. It’s persevered all these years because it’s been able to adapt and still continues to fly. It started out as a high-level flying platform during the Cold War. Then as air defenses got better it became a low-level penetrator, and more than that was the first aircraft to fly low-level at night through FLIR (forward looking infrared) and night-vision TV.
Cole stressed the recent innovations tested through the efforts of outfits like the Air Force Reserve wing at Barksdale, the only one to fly B-52s. “Even today they are coming up with new and innovative technologies to put on the airplane, and it’s big enough to take them.”
The Air Force’s oldest legacy bomber still in service, the B-52H Stratofortress, is in the midst of major weapons and flight systems upgrades, including a capability to drop smart bombs from the plane’s internal weapons bay.
AEDC has 40-plus years of store separation experience, but this test entry is unique and challenging in several ways, according to Doyle Veazey, the ATA store separation section manager.
“We have never tested a store separation aircraft model of this size in our wind tunnels,” he said. “For that matter, our design group and Model Shop have never fabricated a store separation test article this large.”
Work started last November when the B-52H Program Office agreed to fund a wind tunnel test program and the Air Force SEEK Eagle Office provided CAD (computer-aided design) geometry files to AEDC’s design personnel.
The Air Force is upgrading the B-52′s internal weapons bay to expand the aircraft’s payload by roughly two-thirds, according to Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.
“The B-52 delivers the widest variety of stand-off, direct-attack nuclear and conventional weapons in the Air Force and we have been investing in multiple improvements,” General Kowalski told an audience recently during a National Defense University Foundation-sponsored address in Washington, D.C.
This effort represents the “most significant B-52 modernization since the [1980s] and will add 21st century capability to the aircraft,” Kowalski said.
Major improvements include new flight control software to enhance targeting pod capabilities and incorporate miniature air launched decoys onto the B-52, as well as a modern digital communications system. With progress thus far, General Kowalski said he expects the B-52′s combat network communications technology upgrade to enter low-rate production by 2013.
Source: Arnold Air Force Base
This is one of the few times a B-52 bomber, an aircraft designed to deliver nuclear bombs into the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, has landed or ever been on public display in Russia.
According to Air Force information, the first time a B-52 was on public display in Russia was in 2003. That plane also was from Minot AFB’s 5th Bomb Wing. At that time, it was only the second B-52 to fly into Russia. The first occurred in the early 1990s on a military contact visit, but the display was not open to the public.
The show features Russia’s state-of-the-art planes, including its first stealth fighter, the T-50. Other international aircraft makers also are showing their latest products, The Associated Press said.
According to the AP, the B-52 from Minot AFB is among a batch of planes the United States is showing at the air show, and many visitors were anxious to take photos and talk to the crews.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke at the show at the base outside Moscow Wednesday.
“We are very excited to be here to help to foster relations with the Russian and U.S. governments and for us to meet our Russian counterparts in the air force and to see how everybody does business,” said Capt. T.J. May, a B-52 radar navigator with the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB. May is assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadron, a unit of the bomb wing, at Minot AFB.
The air show opened Tuesday and will end Sunday.
The second flight of the hypersonic Boeing X-51 waverider ended prematurely due to an inlet unstart. The aircraft made a controlled crash into the Pacific Ocean off the California coast on 13 June, with the crash representing a setback to the revolutionary programme.
After what the US Air Force described as a ‘flawless’ flight to the launch point aboard a Boeing B-52 mothership, the X-51 was successfully boosted to Mach 5.0 by a rocket booster. The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet engine successfully ignited using its initial fuel, ethylene. During the immediate transition to JP-7, the conventional fuel that makes the X-51 unique, an inlet unstart occurred. A subsequent attempt to restart and reorient to optimal conditions was unsuccessful.
An inlet unstart, according to NASA, occurs when the shock wave moves too far out in front of the air inlet, causing a momentary lapse in airflow to the engine. Scramjet engines depend on extremely precise shock wave movements and engine airflow to function. No windtunnel can move air at hypersonic velocities, making hypersonic testing extremely difficult.
In its first flight, on 26 May 2010, the X-51 experienced a similar inlet unstart about 110s after the scramjet ignited; the engine recovered successfully, and the flight continued until 143s, when an unrelated seal in the engine failed.
The video takes a look at what it takes to get a B-52 from the ground to the air. The video provides various shots of aircraft maintenance at Minot Air Force Base, N. D.
For more than 40 years B-52 Stratofortresses have been the backbone of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. This includes gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions. Updated with modern technology the B-52 will be capable of delivering the full complement of joint developed weapons and will continue into the 21st century as an important element of our nation’s defenses. Current engineering analyses show the B-52′s life span to extend beyond the year 2040.
Fifty years ago, the Air Force delivered a devastating, long-range, multi-role bomber to its fleet–the B-52H Stratofortress. May 9 marked the 50th Anniversary of operational service by the B-52H, a milestone in Boeing and aviation history.
From entering the skies to combat Soviet tensions during the Cold War to maintaining a presence in recent conflicts, the B-52 continues to be an important element of the Air Force Global Strike Command bomber fleet.
The B-52H entered service May 9, 1961. Over the past 50 years, the bomber has served as a nuclear deterrent, entering combat in the skies over numerous conflicts. According to Boeing, no bomber in U.S. military history has been called upon to remain operational as long as the B-52.
“From looking back to when the first A-model was made in 1952, the capabilities of this aircraft have grown so much,” said Maj. Chris Otis, 20th Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations. “To be able to say I’m a crewmember of the B-52 and have it instantly recognized says a lot about what this aircraft has accomplished.”
“The B-52 Stratofortress is arguably the greatest military aircraft of all time,” said retired Col. Ronald Thurlow. “It has served as the symbol of American military might for the past 56 years, and is recognized as such not only here in America, but by our friends and enemies around the world. It appears the H-model will continue that legacy for several decades to come.”
Extensive system and structural upgrades have extended this aircraft’s service life, which is expected to continue beyond the year 2030. The role of the Stratofortess as a heavy bomber continues and will be a viable part of the U.S. bomber fleet well into the century.
A forum over at sodahead.com has sparked a discussion from military men when a question was posted regarding President Obama’s choice of Navy SEAL over the B-52 Bomber.
The post reads:
The Obama administration had the best information it was going to have on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. The longtime public enemy No. 1 was holed up in a ritzy area of Pakistan, two hours from the capital, Islamabad, and his neighbors were retired military officials.
President Barack Obama had two choices for Operation Geronimo : Send in a Navy SEAL team or send in a bomber and flatten the fortified compound. He chose the former. In light of the result, it was the right decision.
Or was it?
Some senior staffers in the situation room, before the president gave the orders, were worried that a raid might allow bin Laden to escape, or worse, would lead to tragic consequences for the soldiers. They felt that bombing the compound to smithereens was the safer route.
But others felt differently. They said a small, elite team could enter the country and compound quickly and either arrest bin Laden or kill him.
Do you think this mission was too risky and that it should have been handled from the air?
Some of the responses were:
Yes, it was a good decision. But what if the helo that went down crashed on top of 20 men? What if there were bombs remotely detonated?
Overall, I believe a gutsy call by Obama. And you have to give a tip of the cap to Bush as well. He’s the person who initiated the focus and training of SEAL Team 6 that allowed them to be ready.
It would have been safer to blast the compound to Kingdom come from the relative safety of a squadron of F-111 stealth. But for precision?
Ended up being an excellent call by President Obama.
Mordecai Jones says:
We are already catching crap over having punched Obama’s ticket to hell. Can you imagine what the uproar rap storm would be if we hit that compound with a B-52 load of 2K lb bunker busters?
The B-52H has a capacity for 18 2K lb bunker busters and the estimate is that it would have taken at least 30, so that would mean 2 B-52Hs plus their escorts. What sort of a fit do you think our frienemies (aka “Allies” ) would throw regarding overflight permission?
The B-52H is based at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and Minot AFB in North Dakota. There are 76 planes in service and they have a round trip range of about 10,000 miles (about 5,000 miles one way). The trip is about 9600 miles one way. So where would we refuel without our frienemies being aware? How much time do you think our frienemies would have to warn Osama bin Laden?
SEALs = get in – get it done- get out!
Read the thread here.