November 29, 2023

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The US Air Force wants to keep the oldest B-52 bomber in service until 2050 |  Abroad

The US Air Force wants to keep the oldest B-52 bomber in service until 2050 | Abroad

The US Air Force plans to continue flying the B-52s until 2050, the heavy bombers first deployed in 1954. The US Department of Defense (Pentagon) said British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract to supply more than 600 new engines to modernize the aircraft. The Plane.

Rolls-Royce, which will perform the mission through its North American subsidiary, has won a base contract worth US$501 million (about €430 million) to supply 608 engines for a total of 76 B-52s from the USAF. Each aircraft has eight engines. But there are also several options in the deal, so that the amount for the manufacturer could rise to 2.6 billion dollars (about 2.2 billion euros). Rolls-Royce will also supply spare parts.

From Vietnam to Afghanistan

The B-52 was first deployed by the US Air Force in 1954 during the Cold War, after which it proved its worth during the Vietnam War, among other things. But even in the current age of drone technology, heavy bombers are still important to the United States. More recently, B-52s have been used to provide air cover during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

For the complete modernization of the hardware, so that it can last until 2050, the US government estimates the allocation of about 11 billion dollars (9.39 billion euros). For example, there should also be new displays in the cockpit.

“Big Ugly Fat Companion”

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B-52s are also known as “BUFFs,” which stands for “Big Ugly Fat Fellow” (something like “Big Ugly Fat Man”).

Several manufacturers were in a race to supply the new engines. General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, who built the engines that B-52s now fly, also came up with a proposal. But in the end the preference went to Rolls-Royce. By the way, this is not about the automaker Rolls-Royce. The automotive division has not been part of the industry group since the 1970s. Rolls-Royce cars are now produced under the German BMW flag.