The U.S. Air Force has introduced into its B-52 fleet the first aircraft upgraded with an advanced communications system, developed by Boeing. The system keeps the bomber ahead of emergent threats while improving aircrew safety and situational awareness.
The Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) modification adds to the B-52 several communication data links, full-color LCD displays with real-time intelligence feeds overlaid on moving maps, a state-of-the-art computing network, and the ability to retarget a weapon, or mission parameters, in flight.
“The delivery of the first B-52 to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., with the CONECT upgrade is a landmark event between Boeing and the Air Force customer,” said Scot Oathout, Boeing B-52 program director. “CONECT not only provides valuable new capability to the aircraft, but does so in a cost-effective manner and ensures the aircraft will remain relevant in the future.”
The Air Force anticipates modernizing its entire B-52 fleet with the innovative CONECT capability. As part of its low-rate initial production contract, Boeing is supporting the Air Force’s installation of the first CONECT kits at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
“Completion of this first installation and delivery of the CONECT capability to the warfighter are the result of our partners, from industry and government, working together to ensure our men and women in uniform have what they need to successfully complete their ever-changing mission,” said Michael Schenck, B-52 CONECT Program Manager. “The entire B-52 enterprise should be proud of this achievement.”
The Air Force operates 76 B-52s primarily out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Minot Air Force Base, N.D. and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.