A B-52 Stratofortress ('Buff') strategic bomber of the United States Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)

Upgrade of B-52 to carry even more weapons

A B-52 Stratofortress ('Buff') strategic bomber of the United States Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)
A B-52 Stratofortress (‘Buff’) strategic bomber of the United States Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)

The bomber is more than half a century old, but the US Air Force still considers it vary valuable to its strength. So valuable that a new upgrade will increase the Boeing B-52 bomb capacity by more than half of its current.

The so-called initial 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade will allow the B-52 to house up to eight advanced precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions in its internal weapons bay, in addition to the 12 it can currently carry on exterior weapons pylons.

,,It will increase the B-52’s overall carrying capacity by 67 percent,” said Alan Williams, the B-52 Deputy Program element monitor at Air Force Global Strike Command. The 1760 IWBU is based on rewiring the existing B-52 launcher into a Common Rotary Launcher, which carries the munitions and is housed in the B-52’s bomb bay. The rewiring allows the B-52 to use the newest weapons in the Air Force’s arsenal.

While the B-52 has long been able to carry JDAMs on an exterior pylon under each wing, the interior weapons bay was not equipped to communicate with those types of munitions. In the near future the Stratofortresses will also be able to use the JASSM-Extended Range missile and the MALD-J missile from the internal bay.

Source: USAF