The Pentagon has announced a contract with Boeing to upgrade the communications system of the B-52H bomber aircraft.

The $70m contract also includes data management updates for the aircraft.

The B-52H, the latest version of the B-52 Stratofortress, is a long-range, strategic heavy bomber that can carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.

The bomber with a combat range of 8,800 miles, can fly at subsonic speeds of up to Mach 0.86.

The air force can employ the bomber for strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations.

The aircraft was deployed by the air force as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.