B-52 Stratofortress Getting New Power Systems to Keep It Flying Until It Turns 100

B-52 Stratofortress 9 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Richard Ebensberger
B-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressB-52 Stratofortress
Most of the military airplanes currently in use are old. And by that we mean they were initially conceived and flown for the first time decades ago, even if most of them have been modernized, some more than once, during their lifetime.
Look as hard as you’d like though, and you’ll not get to see a single military aircraft on active duty that is 100 years old. Come 2050, that might change.

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was introduced in the 1950s, and that makes it, at 70, one of the oldest birds in the sky. It will get even older though, as the U.S. Air Force (USAF) plans to keep it flying well into the 2050s. And it is then when the B-52 will become the first-ever military aircraft to still be operational one century after it was conceived.

To be able to reach that mark, the plane fleet has to be significantly upgraded, of course. USAF committed to this a while back and already announced some of the changes to be made, including the fitting of L3Harris’ electronic warfare self-protection system and newly-designed wheels and brakes, supplied by Collins Aerospace.

This week, the same Collins Aerospace announced it was brought on board to install a new electric power generation system (EPGS) on the Stratofortress.

The EPGS currently in use is as old as the plane itself, so clearly outdated. The new hardware should need less power from the engine to operate and should help the USAF reach the targeted 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption (which is now about 3,300 gallons per hour for this plane).

The system comprises, among others, eight generators to act as redundancy for other, scheduled upgrades, including the fitting of radar, avionics and mission systems.

The value of the contract was not announced, and Collison says production of the EPGS will be handled at the Rockford, Illinois facility.

Over the 70 years it was in production, there were over 700 B-52 made, but as of 2019 just 58 of them are still operational.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories