As said, the aircraft is massive. It tips the scale, empty, at 185,000 pounds (over 83 metric tons), and can get to 265,000 pounds (120 metric tons) when loaded with bombs. That means both take-off and landings exert an enormous amount of stress on the wheels and brakes.
In a bid to extend the life of these terrifying machines capable of raining death from above, USAF chose Collins Aerospace to come up with a new wheel and carbon brake design.
According to the contractor, the technology to be used for the new pieces of hardware is based on something it calls Duracarb carbon heat sink material. It’s the same technology already deployed on a number of Airbus, Embraer, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin aircraft.
Duracarb is supposed to be lighter than existing materials, cool faster, and also have a longer life. The exact specs for the material as it will be used on the B-52 are, of course, not public. We are also not being told when the solution for the B-52 will be ready to hit the runways’ tarmac.
Collins’ involvement with the B-52 expands far beyond the soon-to-be new wheels and brakes. The company already supplies the aircraft’s generators, communication, and navigation systems.