Maj. Jacob Davis, chief B-52 requirements officer at Global Strike Command, has said the U.S. Air Force intends to issue in fiscal 2019 a solicitation to replace the engines of its Boeing-built B-52H Stratofortress aircraft in order to keep the fleet operational through 2050, National Defense reported Monday.
He told the publication the service expects the re-engine program to reach initial operating capability by mid-2020s and full operating capability by 2030.
Davis noted the service also intends to replace the Northrop Grumman-made APQ-166 radars on B-52s with plans to release a request for proposals by the end of 2018 and select the vendor in 2019.
The Air Force has kicked off phase 2 of the 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade program with plans to wrap up testing by year’s end and complete installation work within the next two years, he said.
Davis mentioned other upgrades to the B-52H bomber fleet such as the combat network communications technology program, a Link 16 tactical datalink capability and updated GPS interface systems for the aircraft’s computers.
The report said such upgrades come as the service plans to retire its B-2 stealth bombers by 2032 and B-1 supersonic aircraft four years later.