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B-52 bomber : New engines?


Slater
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Looks like it's finally going forward for the old dinosaur. From today's US DoD contract announcements:

 

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Indiana, has been awarded an estimated $500,870,458 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a six-year base period for B-52 Replacement Engines, with a potential total of $2,604,329,361 if all options are exercised. This contract provides for 608 commercial engines plus spare engines, associated support equipment and commercial engineering data, to include sustainment activities, to be used on the B-52H bomber fleet. The location of performance is Indianapolis, Indiana, and work is expected to be completed by Sept. 23, 2038. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition in which one solicitation was posted and four offers were received. Fiscal 2021 research and development funds in the amount of $5,464,452 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity (FA8107-21-D-0001).

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wow! who would have thought!

 

so that is a one for one replacement then, no? the B-52 will remain an 8 engined bomber!

and as far as I read thrust levels will remain the same... so fuel efficiency should go way up.... :)

 

what about cowlings? I assume the new F130 will have different airflow requirements, no?

 

RR:

https://www.rolls-royce.com/products-and-services/defence/aerospace/combat-jets/f130.aspx

https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2019/16-09-2019-rr-f130-engine-for-b-52-completes-early-testing-in-indianapolis.aspx

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Yes, it appears it will remain an 8-engine aircraft. The order is for 608, to replace the engines of 76 aircraft and, as you state, the thrust of each engine is basically the same. The idea is to make them more efficient yielding longer range or loiter time. 

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7 hours ago, Slater said:

As currently planned, I believe the B-52 is scheduled to outlast both the B-1 and B-2. 

If the B-21 is successful, I understand retiring the handful of B-2s..

Obviously the B-1 structure is tired AND it does not bring lots of extra capability over the B-52... (extra speed maybe? but less range ) it would not be the BUFF's first successor to retire earlier... B-58 anyone?

Let's see what the coming years bring!

 

Maybe the F-22 will also retire before the F-15.... :devil:

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27 minutes ago, exdraken said:

Obviously the B-1 ... does not bring lots of extra capability over the B-52...

I imagine most radar operators, FACs and war planners would have a differing view to you there, but hey 🤔

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2 hours ago, Alan P said:

I imagine most radar operators, FACs and war planners would have a differing view to you there, but hey 🤔

The USAF does not obviously!

And I mentioned speed already!

 

So what capability are you or radar operators or FACs or war planners  missing? Please let me know!

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1 hour ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

The radar signature for a B-52 is 100 times greater than a B-1B

100 times....Yeah, but that is what the B-21 is for obviously...

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In a war with a more capable adversary than the Taliban/ISIS, I would think that the B-52's primary capability would be standoff weaponry. Possibly some of the new hypersonic missiles being designed, but also old-fashioned cruise missiles. 

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Looks like we could run out of alphabetic suffixes to the B-52 before we run out of BUFFs. She just keeps on trucking. Those spars must be tough as old boots. 

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17 hours ago, Paul Bradley said:

But what's the betting odds that one of the losers will appeal?  🙄

Appeals at the end of a competition decision are becoming a norm. I can remember when a company lost the competition to build a plane for the military, bit the bullet, learned from the experience and went back to work designing better airplanes. Those were companies led by men who had genuine character.

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2 hours ago, Slater said:

In the competition for the "longest lived military aircraft", it may come down to B-52 vs C-130.

Yeah, but the B-52 are basically the same airframes.. the C-130 mostly much newer or even new builds... but yes, there are some B models still flying, no?

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8 hours ago, exdraken said:

So what capability are you or radar operators or FACs or war planners  missing? Please let me know!

Radar cross section

Operational flexibility

Dash speed

Low level penetration

The main reason the Bone will not continue is fatigue life of the airframes and maintenance cost per flight hour. Otherwise it's a far more flexible platform than the Buff in today's limited conflicts, as its record of most bombs delivered of any USAF platform in Iraq and Afghanistan reflects. Shame really, it's had a great service life as an unsung hero beside more well known types.

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On 9/24/2021 at 7:23 PM, Paul Bradley said:

Yes, it appears it will remain an 8-engine aircraft. The order is for 608, to replace the engines of 76 aircraft and, as you state, the thrust of each engine is basically the same. The idea is to make them more efficient yielding longer range or loiter time. 

I believe the primary factor for the replacement is increasing reliability.  Those old J-57's are an absolute beast to maintain.   The BUFF already has sufficient range for the mission set it's tasked with.  

 

For the life of me, I don't understand why they are dragging the -52 out for another few decades while retiring the B-1.   The B-1 has very impressive load carrying capability and is certainly much more survivable than the BUFF. 

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25 minutes ago, 11bravo said:

For the life of me, I don't understand why they are dragging the -52 out for another few decades while retiring the B-1.   The B-1 has very impressive load carrying capability and is certainly much more survivable than the BUFF. 

From what I’ve read the low-level work the B-1s have/were tasked with has been hard on the airframe and their fatigue lives are rapidly running out of hours as a consequence. 
 

The B-52H model was built from the off with low level work in mind - it’s got a stronger core and higher grade of alloys throughout when compared to the earlier models. In short, it’s built like the proverbial brick ****house and even the most elderly in the fleet have at least half of their designed fatigue life left. 
 

I believe Boeing are currently undertaking close analysis of various components from an H-model to gain an exact insight into the levels or wear/fatigue in order to upgrade as necessary when they go in for overhaul and the new engines and avionics are fitted. 
 

In short, the B-1s are knackered whereas the BUFF is still fighting fit. 
 

Tom

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