Military planes arrive and military planes depart, but the B-52 Stratofortress appears to live further away.
As a sign that the B-52 is here to stay, the US Air Force has awarded Rolls-Royce North America a contract for $ 2,604,329,361 for military-derived B-52H Stratofortress engines.
Under the competitive single award contract, Rolls-Royce will supply 608 engines, along with spare parts, associated support equipment and commercial engineering data. The contract also provides for the company to provide sustainment activities.
âThe B-52 CERP is a complex upgrade that not only updates the aircraft with new engines, but updates the cockpit area, struts and nacelles,â said Brig. General John Newberry, Air Force Bomber Program Officer.
âOur current digital virtual prototyping efforts give us the opportunity to integrate the engines and other modifications to the B-52 before making any physical modifications. This allowed us to develop the most cost effective solution while reducing the time between design and production.
The Rolls-Royce F130 engine will replace the TF33-PW-103, which has powered the B-52 since the 1960s, and is expected to no longer be supported beyond 2030. The original equipment manufacturer of the B-52, Boeing, is responsible for integrating the engines on the aircraft. The Air Force plans to finalize integration activities and deliver the first batch of modified B-52H aircraft by the end of 2028.
The new B-52 engines are expected to be on the B-52H until at least 2050, extending the life of the aircraft which made its maiden flight on April 15, 1952 and entered service in February 1955.
A variant of the Rolls-Royce F130 engine is already in service with the Air Force powering the C-37 and E-11 BACN.
“We are proud to join a truly iconic US Air Force program and to deliver world-class, USA-made engines that will power its missions for the next 30 years,” said Tom Bell, President- General Manager of Rolls-Royce North America. âThe F130 is a proven, efficient and modern engine that perfectly matches the B-52. “
Rolls-Royce will build and test the F130 engines at its plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, after the recent completion of a $ 600 million investment to revitalize the advanced manufacturing campus.
âThis is a major victory for Rolls-Royce,â said Craig McVay, senior vice president of strategic campaigns. âWe have planned and prepared for this outcome and we are ready to take the upper hand to prove that we are the best choice for the Air Force and the B-52. Our employees are ready to serve once again the men and women who protect our freedoms every day. “
The B-52H is a long-range heavy bomber that can perform strategic attacks, close air support, air interdiction, counter-air and sea offensive operations. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet. It can carry conventional nuclear guided or precision orders with precision navigation capability around the world.
The first two fully modified B-52s are expected to be delivered by the end of 2025 and will undergo ground and flight tests. The first batch of operational B-52s with the new engines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 with the entire fleet modified by 2035.