Remember “Back To the Future” taking us back to a nostalgic 1955? That was the year the B-52 entered active service in the Air Force. This Nearly Missed News shows how Grandpa’s B-52 Will Be Your Grandchild’s Badass Beast. Instead of Biff ruling in 2015, we will still have the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F*cker) kicking ass and taking names until at least 2040.
No, that’s not a typo – Boeing built a plane beginning in 1952 that will still be operational 85 years after entering active service. Here’s Scout.com telling us how that is happening:
The Air Force is surging forward with a massive, fleet-wide modernization overhaul of the battle-tested, Vietnam-era B-52 bomber, an iconic airborne workhorse for the U.S. military dating back to the 1960s.
Engineers are now equipping all 76 of the Air Force B-52s with digital data-links, moving-map displays, next-generation avionics, new radios and an ability to both carry more weapons internally and integrate new, high-tech weapons as they emerge, service officials said.
The technical structure and durability of the B-52 airframes in the Air Force fleet are described as extremely robust and able to keep flying well into the 2040s and beyond – so the service is taking steps to ensure the platform stays viable by receiving the most current and effective avionics, weapons and technologies, Air Force weapons developers told Scout Warrior in an interview last year.
Two distinct, yet interwoven B-52 modernization efforts will increase the electronics, communications technology, computing and avionics available in the cockpit while simultaneously configuring the aircraft with the ability to carry up to eight of the newest “J-Series” precision-guided weapons internally – in addition to carrying six weapons on each wing, officials said.
Eight B-52s have already received a communications (coms systems) upgrade called Combat Network Communication Technology, or CONECT – a radio, electronics and data-link upgrade which, among other things, allows aircraft crews to transfer mission and targeting data directly to aircraft systems while in flight (machine to machine), an Air Force official said.
Dear Secretary Mattis – Please have the geniuses behind this brilliance figure out how to upgrade the A-10 so it can be our great-great-grandchildren’s Go-To for close air support in 2100.
Dear Reader – Total cost for this effort, just over $ 1.4 billion
And No, that’s not a typo either.