An Old U.S. Bomber Just Got Some Modern Communications Gear

Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
May 2, 2014, 7:58 a.m.

Some aging B-52 nuc­le­ar-cap­able bombers just re­turned to Air Force units, sport­ing up­graded and mod­ern com­mu­nic­a­tions tech­no­logy, For­eign Policy re­ports.

The air­craft are part of the ser­vice’s $1.1 bil­lion CON­ECT pro­gram, which stands for Com­bat Net­work Com­mu­nic­a­tions Tech­no­logy. Equip­ping the bombers with new sys­tems means crew mem­bers need no longer take down tar­get­ing data on pa­per dur­ing ra­dio trans­mis­sions, as they have done for dec­ades, ac­cord­ing to the magazine.

“As the ad­versary moves and ad­justs and dif­fer­ent sensors move and ad­just, the B-52 will say, ‘Yep, this tar­get shif­ted. It moved over here and I know where it is,” the art­icle quoted Brig. Gen. Fred Stoss, who over­sees the up­grade pro­gram, as say­ing. “So it can do what it needs to do with a very agile en­emy and it can stay plugged in with all the oth­er plat­forms.”

Today’s B-52s were first in­tro­duced in­to the ser­vice in the 1960s.

Air Force of­fi­cials hope up­grad­ing the B-52 through its planned re­tire­ment in 2040 will help bridge the time un­til a new long-range strike bomber be­comes avail­able. A con­tract com­pet­i­tion for that pro­gram is set to be­gin this fall, For­eign Policy re­ports.

Glob­al Strike Com­mand chief Lt. Gen. Steph­en Wilson told the magazine he en­vi­sions a new con­ven­tion­ally out­fit­ted bomber air­craft be­com­ing op­er­a­tion­al by 2025. It should be cap­able of car­ry­ing nuc­le­ar weapons by 2027, he said.