US-based aerostructures manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems has secured a contract from The Boeing Company to support the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP).

As agreed, Spirit AeroSystems will provide engine pylons and nacelles for the initial phase of the programme. The contract works will help in extending the service life of the B-52 Stratofortress through to 2050.

Overall, the CERP scheme will involve the replacement of 608 engines installed in the US Air Force (USAF) B-52H fleet. These aircraft were built in Wichita, Kansas.

Spirit AeroSystems Defense & Space president and executive vice-president Duane Hawkins said: “We are very pleased Boeing selected Spirit to be the structures partner on the B-52 CERP programme, taking advantage of decades of experience and capabilities building engine struts and nacelles in Wichita.

“Spirit is proud of our heritage with the warfighter by producing legacy bombers and now extending that legacy keeping the B-52 flying for decades to come.”

Spirit AeroSystems Defense & Space business development manager Jarrod Bartlett said: “Spirit will apply its vast experience building and delivering thousands of engine struts and nacelles for commercial applications on the CERP programme.

“We look forward to supporting Boeing to help keep the B-52 a ready and reliable weapon system for the Air Force.”

The B-52H is a long-range, large-payload multirole bomber commonly referred to as the Stratofortress.

It has a take-off weight of 488,000lb (220,000kg).

Earlier this year, Boeing contracted Collins Aerospace to equip the B-52 aircraft with a new electric power generation system (EPGS). The technology will increase the bomber’s fuel efficiency.