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October 4, 2015

Boeing to upgrade USAF’s B-52 bomber fleet with CONECT technology

Boeing has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to upgrade its entire B-52 bomber fleet with combat network communications technology (CONECT).

By Samseer M

B-52

Boeing has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to upgrade its entire B-52 bomber fleet with combat network communications technology (CONECT).

The new technology is aimed at offering the aircraft with better capabilities in the digital battle space.

B-52 CONECT project manager Renee Sauerland said: "The multifunction, critical capability that CONECT provides for the B-52 was at risk for missing kit installation schedule.

"Boeing and the Air Force’s collaborative effort to reduce the kit contracting process by 50% paved the way to deliver on-time, quality war-fighting capabilities."

CONECT will upgrade the communication systems of the Cold War era B-52 bombers, allowing the aircraft to remain in service.

It brings an array of technological enhancements to the bomber, including full-colour LCD displays with real-time intelligence feeds overlaid on moving maps.

They will also supply a high-speed network that enables aircrew to respond quickly to a mission change or identify and engage new targets with their weapons.

Boeing B-52 programme director Scot Oathout said: "Each B-52 bomber comes in for programme depot maintenance once every four years, and CONECT is installed at that time.

"Boeing and the Air Force’s collaborative effort to reduce the kit contracting process by 50% paved the way to deliver on-time, quality war-fighting capabilities."

"We have delivered all previously contracted kits to the Air Force but needed to get additional kits on contract so upgrades could continue on every bomber that comes through, once you miss an aircraft, it is four years before you have another opportunity to touch it."

B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, strategic bomber designed to carry and fire both nuclear and conventional munitions for deterrence missions.

The aircraft entered service with the USAF in 1955, and is also operated by the US Navy for anti-surface and submarine warfare operations.

In February, Boeing received a contract to supply additional CONECT upgrade kits for the USAF’s B-52 Stratofortress.


Image: A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.

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