Boeing was awarded a $400 million contract by the Defense Department for engineering services on B-1 and B-52 strategic bombers. The contract, announced on Friday, covers recurring and non-recurring services. The B-1 has been in service since 1986, while the B-52, nicknamed the Stratofortress, was first introduced in 1955. Specific work, covered by a $35 million award as part of the contract and to be finished by Dec. 31, 2019, will be done at Tinker AFB, Okla.; Edwards AFB, Calif.; Barksdale AFB, La., and at Boeing’s Oklahoma City, Okla., facility. The Air Force Life Cycle Management office at Tinker AFB is the contracting agency.
The Rockwell (now part of Boeing) B-1 Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber used by the United States Air Force. It is commonly called the “Bone” (from “B-One”). It is one of three strategic bombers in the U.S. Air Force fleet as of 2018, the other two being the B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress. The Air Force had 66 B-1Bs in service as of September 2012. The B-1 was first envisioned in the 1960s as a platform that would combine the Mach 2 speed of the B-58 Hustler with the range and payload of the B-52, and would ultimately replace both bombers. The B-1B is expected to continue to serve into the 2030s, with the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider to begin replacing the B-1B after 2025. The B-1s currently in inventory will be retired by 2036.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling. The B-52 completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is expected to serve into the 2050s.