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  • 27

B-52 re-engine effort could start in 2020

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A long-awaited effort to re-engine the 76-strong Boeing B-52H fleet would start no earlier than fiscal year 2020, but the USAF’s head of Global Strike Command feels a final decision to lengthen the 60-year-old Boeing aircraft’s life is closer than ever. (www.flightglobal.com) 更多...

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MikeSSS
Mike Stirewalt 5
"After a TF33 engine from a B-52 during a training mission last January, former USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James..."

Does this make sense to anyone else?

Does this newsletter need an editor or am I just missing something completely?

yarnoca1
John Yarno 2
Looks like a hasty cut and paste. Every time I do something like that, I kick my own ass! ;~}
srobak
srobak 2
There no excuse for it to happen in the media world with copy editors and proofreaders.
jbqwik
jbqwik 5
I've noticed an increasing downward trend of poor grammar and spelling mistakes in all media. In fact, this is now my personal metric for judging the quality of professional print.
bartmiller
bartmiller 1
I guess that the extra words fell off the article, in sympathy with the engine. ;)
skylab72
skylab72 1
refers to an incident where an engine fell off...
jlwso
John Locke 3
Such an upgrade is long, long overdue.
lartac
Leon Artac 2
Mike: Just missing something completely! Will the new engines replace the 8 currently in use? Can 4 do the job? If 4 can do it, the savings in fuel would be enormous plus getting rid of all the smoke.
srobak
srobak 3
They don't produce nearly the smoke they did back in the 80s and early 90s. Watch the KI Sawyer MITO launch on Youtube as they black out the sun. :) They've already been re-fueled and re-engineered so much to make the ecodweebs happy that it has hamstrung performance significantly. Not to mention - now that we have only 76 remaining - instead of the 706 we once had (and should have) - we can afford for the few to make a little smoke.
skylab72
skylab72 2
Leon, increased efficiency of modern engines does not come from size. It comes from better materials allowing higher temperatures and pressures inside the "hot end" of the engine. Two engines have a lower vertical profile and runway FOD has been an issue for the B-52 from day one, so two engines per nacelle will likely "always" be the solution for this airframe.
lartac
Leon Artac 1
Really! Don't think so. Why have 8 engines when 4 will do? Increased power and fuel efficiency wins over how many engines they can hang on a wing.
MattR
Matt Richards 1
4 engines mean the engines will be bigger, and closer to the runway - easier to suck stuff into the engine.
I've heard the other problem with the rudder not being able to cope with an engine out if there are only 4.
lartac
Leon Artac 1
Good info. Thanks.

n9341c
n9341c 1
This is called "reporting ain't what it used to be".
MrWidgeon
Bill Bailey 1
It would still be 8 engines if the ones mentioned are used.
Proposed engines are the same as those on the newer B737s / A320s etc., high bypass fans in the same thrust range as the current B-52s engines.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I was wondering the same thing... It already has incredible range... Just imagine how much range it could have if it got twice the gas mileage...:)
n42769
n42769 2
The newest Buff is 55 years old. My friends that fly B-1s tell me that when the last B-1 goes to the boneyard a Buff will pick up the crew to take 'em home. This may be a simpleton-type question but since there is nothing to replace the 52, why not engineer and build brand-new ones with modern materials etc? (could it be because there's no money in it for politicians?)
sparkie624
sparkie624 3
I would love to see them build more B-52's even if they used old technology... It has worked great for decades and still cooking... Be nice to see a Century old plane some day! Right now, I see no reason to park them... If nothing else, they are proven technology... It has a proven history and more versatile than any plane that I can think of. There is no load it cannot handle and most in high quantities, any time the demand for it changes, it changes to fit... It is almost the Tinker Toy of the Air Force... It can turn into any request of the military into a quick response... What more could you ask for!
srobak
srobak 1
All that tooling is loooonnng gone
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
You would be surprised how much of it is Moth Balled.. Besides, most can be rebuilt... The drawings are all still around.
srobak
srobak 1
The expense of reverse engineering the lines to make the buff again would grossly eclipse the costs it would take to start from scratch. It would also violate the START II treaty which indeed did result in the destruction of (not mothballing) all the major tooling necessary for its production. This is the same treaty ofcourse which sent hundreds of 52's to AMARC to have their wings chopped off and embarrassingly posed for photo ops by Russian satellites to prove to then or rampant demilitarizion. As a result - our Bomber Forbes are now a tenth of the strength they were at the height of the cold war.
bartmiller
bartmiller 2
I help escort (watched the left wing) the B-52 that visited EAA Airventure at OSH a couple of years ago, so got a good up-close look at the plane. The construction is very simple and rugged. The geometry of the fuselage is geometrically simple, so it's most just big sheets of metal riveted to a basic frame.

And, as a bomber, most of the plane isn't pressurized, light skin materials and no pressure cycles to stress the material. It's funny, the the skin doesn't look like it even sits very smooth.

These planes will last as long as they keep updating the panels, overhaul/replacing the engines, and keep on top of the corrosion. I'm sure that there are also some wear-points (often where the wing or control surfaces mount). These can be the most expensive to stay on top of.
patpylot
patrick baker 2
whatever took them so long to get to this? better fuel usage and lesser direct maintenance are two of the good results of this, and these were needed 10 years ago. Short term thinking permeates the military/congressional complex, but this is good news at last.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
Great news for this old War Bird and well deserved... These planes are great... Love to see them fly over!
TMcDonnell
Is there any truth in the stories I've been told that more powerful engines would require a rebuild/design of the mounts on the 52.
srobak
srobak 2
This is true of just about any aircraft that gets re-engined.
yarnoca1
John Yarno 0
Well if you put a 350 in a VW, some changes apply.
zeek70706
zeek70706 1
There are much better articles out on the web that have better details about cost savings. It should have been done decades ago but the cost analysis was faulty. One thing people overlook is with better efficiency fewer tankers are needed.
srobak
srobak 1
Sooo.... You are saying you want too further weaken our already gutted military....
zeek70706
zeek70706 2
What? Weaken the military? Where did that come from? I posted about faulty cost analysis and them not realizing the full savings of the re engine program decades ago. Burning less fuel requires less refueling which in turn burns less fuel.
srobak
srobak 0
If you reduce the number of tankers you need Less personnel. We've already gutted the military enough.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
Sounds like it...
skylab72
skylab72 1
The issue is NOT political, it IS metal fatigue.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
That is why the airlines have an Aging A/C program... As they get older you do more inspections... There is also a rare known term used called "Zero Timing" the air frame. Expensive, but can get many more years out of them.
lartac
Leon Artac 1
Do we still need long range bombers? Can the F35 and F22 do the same job? I think we have plenty of cruise missiles that can do the job! ie, Syria, etc.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Actually, drones are more likely to subsume more of the mission requirements the Buff now fills, than either expendables or hi-dollar piloted assets.
srobak
srobak 3
Contrary to popular belief we cannot park on the doorstep of every country we may need to strike. So long range capability is essential. A good defensive strategy also does not involve putting all your eggs in one basket. Having multiple methods is a good thing and makes it more challenging for your opponent to get the upper hand.
lartac
Leon Artac 0
Understand.... but we have subs, surface vessels, and aircraft that carry cruise missiles. Do we still need to have Buffs flying around for 12-14 hours near Russian and Chinese airspace? Just a thought. Manufacturing new B52's is out of the question. Newer aircraft with newer materials can do the job much better.
n9341c
n9341c 1
Someone needs to tell me what is so magical about the airframe of the B52 that this airplane seems to have more than nine lives. Don't get me wrong, LOVE the iconic airplane that it is, but come on, really?
srobak
srobak 2
It's cheaper to keep these going than to try to make new ones. Especially since no one else is building new ones either.
skylab72
skylab72 2
n9341c, nothing particularly magic. It was pretty much the right plane at the right time. Right size, right amount of cleverness (bicycle gear + barn-door flaps & low frontal area fuselage) and assorted tech excellence, right aerodynamic fit for the missions it faced combined with pylon mounded engines allowing "easy" retrofits, plus the luck of existing at a time when avionics could outpace new demands, all backed by a firm that (solely based on it's history) was destined to become the aero darling of the military-industrial complex.
chalet
chalet 1
I doubt that this program will be implemented. The same Company that built this wonderful and sturdy bird is hard at work convincing the powers that be at the Pentagon and WH pushing for their New Bomber design which will cost easily ONE QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS, yes you read it right 250,000,000 a pop.
skylab72
skylab72 1
N42769, Right plane, wrong time. Although the Buff has been stretched to continue filling the "long range heavy bomber mission" over the years, the mission is different now is some fundamental ways. The Air Force would therefore "never" ask for "new" B-52s to be built. The ISSUE for such a project would be which of those "fundamental ways" is the most important, and thus another F-35 style all-things-to-all-people boon doggle would develop. Boeing would happily get bigger and richer and the product would be as different from a B-52 as the Buff is from a B-17. Unfortunately it would almost certainly NOT be the Silver Bullet the Buff turned out to be, and the budget would be bigger than the B-1 & B2 combined...

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