The first U.S. Air Force B-52 aircraft has arrived at Boeing to begin upgrades as part of the Radar Modernization Program (RMP). The RMP program will give the B-52 “fighter-like” radar capabilities, increasing navigation accuracy, targeting and tracking and will provide new, high-resolution mapping. The new radar will also be able to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Following the on-schedule completion of the radar program Critical Design Review, Boeing began low-rate initial production of the new radar system for operational test and evaluation.
The Radar Modernization Program (RMP) program upgrades include a new, wide-band radome on the aircraft’s nose; two high-definition, touch-screen, large area displays; two display sensor system processors that will connect the radar with other B-52 systems; two hand controllers and a modern active electronically scanned array radar. Work on B-52 modernization takes place at Boeing sites in Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The B-52 completed 60 years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, the last airplanes are expected to serve into the 2050s.
“The B-52 brings unique, critical capabilities to the U.S. Air Force as they move to a future two-bomber platform strategy. By modernizing the B-52 radar, we’re increasing the relevancy of the aircraft for the warfighter for close air support or strategic attack,” said Jennifer Wong, director of Bomber Programs.
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 U.S. Air Force (U.SAF) since the 1950s. The bomber can carry up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, and has a typical combat range of around 8,800 miles (14,200 km) without aerial refueling. Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War–era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. A veteran of several wars, the B-52 has dropped only conventional munitions in combat.