HolyCoast: A Cold War Success Story

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Cold War Success Story

The B-52 Stratofortress, which took its maiden flight four years before I was born, it being retrofitted to continue flying for another 30 years:
The Air Force’s venerable half-century-old Boeing B-52 bomber is getting its biggest makeover yet.

A host of ongoing and planned upgrades will keep the 76 jets flying for three more decades, service officials said.

“The B-52, as a bomber, still has a nuclear mission in combination with the Air Launched Cruise Missile,” said Maj. Gen. William Chambers, the Air Staff strategic deterrence and nuclear integration officer. “The continued upgrade of the B-52’s electronics and the effort we have underway for a new cruise missile are both examples of where we’re taking very old systems and making them last longer.”

The planned upgrades total three:

• The CONECT program will put a digital backbone and communications suite into the largely analog aircraft.

• A new 1760 databus architecture will allow the old bird to drop modern smart weapons from its internal weapon bays.

• Strategic radar will replace the B-52’s antiquated 1960s-vintage system.
These birds were originally built with the thought they would fly low under Russian radar and deliver nuclear weapons on Russian cities. This was before the concept of intercontinental ballistic missiles came along. Today they have different roles, but there's still nothing in the Air Force arsenal that can do the job they can do for a reasonable price.

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