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Author Topic: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies  (Read 24531 times)

Online Triton

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B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« on: October 11, 2014, 02:51:27 pm »
"B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies"
Oct 10, 2014 Bill Sweetman | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/b-52-re-engine-resurfaces-usaf-reviews-studies

Quote
The U.S. Air Force is reviewing industry studies of fitting its 50-year-old Boeing B-52 bombers with new commercial-derivative engines, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of the service’s Global Strike Command.

So far, Wilson said Oct. 9 at a Washington meeting, the Air Force assesses that the change would result in a net cost savings over the remaining life of the B-52s, which are expected to fly until 2040.

Wilson did not identify the contractor that made the proposal or whether more than one company is involved. However, an industry source confirms that Boeing has presented a “concept brief” and that General Electric has looked at fitting the bomber with eight CF34-10 engines. Pratt & Whitney also is exploring options.

Fitting new engines would sharply reduce the bombers’ fuel burn, and in turn reduce the need for tanker support, Wilson said. Moreover, under current commercial standards the new engines would not have to be removed for routine maintenance over the lifetime of the aircraft.

Wilson’s Global Strike Command and Air Force Materiel command are examining the proposal; separately, Wilson said he wants his command to become more agile and innovative in terms of procurement and upgrade programs, and that he has worked on learning lessons from Air Force Special Operations Command in this area. One example is the Dragon’s Eye demonstration this summer, in which a Northrop Grumman ASQ-236 radar targeting pod was fitted to a B-52 and flight tested in four weeks.

The main obstacles to a re-engining program could concern budgets and regulations, Wilson says. Airline operating experience would have to be used to support military airworthiness requirements, and the proposal rests on recovering an early investment through lower operating costs. Wilson notes that commanders have budgetary discretion to spend money against future energy savings when they modernize bases and other facilities, but not to modify aircraft.

This represents at least the third attempt to re-engine the B-52, which is powered by eight TF33 engines similar to those used on the Boeing 707.

Pratt & Whitney studied the idea in 1982, with four PW2000-series engines. In 1996 Boeing and Rolls-Royce jointly proposed to fit B-52s with four RB211-535s, with the government leasing the engines. The first plan was not taken up because all B-52s were to be replaced by B-1s and B-2s by the late 1990s, and the second failed because of resistance to leasing combat assets and a flawed economic assessment by the Air Force.

According to a 2004 Defense Science Board report, the USAF failed to take the cost of air refueling into account. At that time, tanker-delivered fuel cost $17.50 per gallon, 14 times the cost of fuel on the ground. The DSB task force “unanimously recommend[ed] the Air Force proceed with B-52H re-engining without delay,” but no action was taken.

“Had we done it all those years ago, we’d be patting ourselves on the back today and telling everyone how smart we were,” Wilson said.

GE’s eight-CF34-10 option could deliver more thrust than the current engines (variants are rated at 17,640-20,360-lb. thrust) and would avoid engine-out handling issues.

Pratt & Whitney announced in May that it was launching the PW1135G-JM, aimed initially at the A321neo and rated at a 35,000-lb. thrust class, slightly more than two TF33s. The new engines would deliver an even greater performance and efficiency improvement than the engines proposed in 1996.

The RB211-535 has been out of production since the end of the Boeing 757 line in 2004, and the last F117s (military PW2000s) are being delivered with the final C-17s, so neither engine is a strong candidate today.

Ian33

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 05:00:15 pm »
This says to me that the 'LRS-B' is going to be a medium sized platform that hasn't got the muscle to take a B-52 sized payload into the skies and the USAF are now scrambling for prolonging the life of the BUFF.
To think this type will be pushing 100 years in the air by its retirement is mind boggling.  :o

Offline sferrin

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 07:03:20 pm »
This says to me that the 'LRS-B' is going to be a medium sized platform that hasn't got the muscle to take a B-52 sized payload into the skies and the USAF are now scrambling for prolonging the life of the BUFF.
To think this type will be pushing 100 years in the air by its retirement is mind boggling.  :o

Yikes, I hope not.
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Offline TomS

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 07:12:23 pm »
The proposed reengine is not supposed to extend the service life of the B-52, just cut its operating costs in its remaining years.  I don't see how that relates to LRS-B's bomb capacity at all.

Offline Avimimus

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2014, 07:48:21 pm »
To think this type will be pushing 100 years in the air by its retirement is mind boggling.  :o

This really should be optionally manned - after all the crews should be given the option...

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 01:08:31 pm »
The proposed reengine is not supposed to extend the service life of the B-52, just cut its operating costs in its remaining years.  I don't see how that relates to LRS-B's bomb capacity at all.


I agree. To assume that decisions on the B-52 are being made with full knowledge of what's gonna happen with LRS-B is reasonable in an ideal world, but I wouldn't be surprised if in such a large organization as the AF, and given the different timeframes, separate offices made choices independently.
If the C-5M re-engining is any indication, using existing commercial engines could be done in a reasonable amount of time (by the geological standards of military procurement!).
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline LowObservable

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 03:51:43 am »
There are some good studies out there by DSB and National Academy that detail the break-even time for an engine change. But the airframes could go beyond 2040 at current flying rates, and given that LRSO is getting more real, there is a valid non-penetrating long-range role out there.

Offline DrRansom

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2014, 07:25:23 am »
LRSO = next generation cruise missile?

If there are upcoming stand-off cruise missiles, then there isn't a pressing need for stealth on everything.

Online Triton

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2014, 10:29:45 am »
I wonder what Boeing engineers George S. Schairer, Art Carlsen, Vaughn Blumenthal,  Ed Wells, Bob Withington, and Maynard Pennell would say about the longevity of their design.

Offline Moose

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 03:12:33 pm »
I wonder what Boeing engineers George S. Schairer, Art Carlsen, Vaughn Blumenthal,  Ed Wells, Bob Withington, and Maynard Pennell would say about the longevity of their design.
"What do you mean it's still flying, for Pete's sake get a new airplane already!"

Offline LowObservable

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 04:12:55 pm »
Ransom - yes, Long Range Stand-Off. And if we ever get a hypersonic missile, the B-52 will be a carrier for that too. Indeed, speaking of hypersonic missiles....




Online Triton

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 04:17:34 pm »


Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt (AGM-48 under the 1962 Tri-service system)?

Offline sferrin

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 04:54:16 pm »
Ransom - yes, Long Range Stand-Off. And if we ever get a hypersonic missile, the B-52 will be a carrier for that too. Indeed, speaking of hypersonic missiles....

One of the more depressing cancellations.  Definitely ahead of it's time.
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Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2014, 06:09:27 pm »
Ransom - yes, Long Range Stand-Off. And if we ever get a hypersonic missile, the B-52 will be a carrier for that too. Indeed, speaking of hypersonic missiles....


That's what I'm talking about: old skool hypersonics.  And note: no air breathing malarkey besides the TF33s. 

Offline sferrin

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Re: B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 06:32:45 pm »
Ransom - yes, Long Range Stand-Off. And if we ever get a hypersonic missile, the B-52 will be a carrier for that too. Indeed, speaking of hypersonic missiles....


That's what I'm talking about: old skool hypersonics.  And note: no air breathing malarkey besides the TF33s.

This one's a pretty good example of that kind of thinking albeit surface/sub launched:

« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 05:27:30 pm by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.