The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Rolls-Royce a $2.6bn contract to replace the engines on its B-52H Stratofortress bomber fleet.

The competitive single award contract will see Rolls-Royce supply F-130 engines for all of the USAF’s Air Force Global Strike Command’s (AFGSC) B-52H bombers.

Under the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP), the company was selected following a rigorous multi-year competitive bid.

The US-made Rolls-Royce F-130 engine will keep the bomber fleet flying for the next three decades.

Rolls-Royce plans to build and test the engines at its Indianapolis facility, which recently underwent a $600m manufacturing upgrade.

According to the USAF, the contract includes the provision of 608 military derivative commercial engines, spare engines and related support equipment.

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It also includes provision of commercial engineering data, including sustainment activities in support of the fleet.

Rolls-Royce North America chairman and CEO and Defense president Tom Bell said: “We are proud to join a truly iconic US Air Force programme and provide world-class, American-made engines that will power its missions for the next 30 years.

“The F130 is a proven, efficient, modern engine that is the perfect fit for the B-52.”

Rolls-Royce’s F130 engine will replace the Pratt & Whitney’s TF33-PW-103, which has powered the bomber fleet since the 1960s.

The B-52 original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Boeing will be responsible for integrating the engines onto the long-range, large-payload multirole bomber aircraft.

The first lot of B-52H modified aircraft is expected to be delivered by the end of 2028, with delivery of the first two fully modified B-52s scheduled for 2025.

Furthermore, the entire fleet is anticipated to complete modification by 2035.

Rolls-Royce Defense Strategic Campaigns SVP Craig McVay said: “We’ve been planning and preparing for this outcome and are ready to hit the ground running to prove that we are the best choice for the airforce and the B-52.

“Our employees stand prepared to deliver once again for the men and women who protect our freedoms every day.”