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B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies

Triton

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"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

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.
 
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Ian33

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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. :eek:
 

sferrin

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Ian33 said:
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. :eek:
Yikes, I hope not.
 

TomS

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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.
 

Avimimus

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Ian33 said:
To think this type will be pushing 100 years in the air by its retirement is mind boggling. :eek:
This really should be optionally manned - after all the crews should be given the option...
 

AeroFranz

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TomS said:
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!).
 

LowObservable

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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.
 

DrRansom

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LRSO = next generation cruise missile?

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

Triton

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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.
 

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Triton said:
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!"
 

LowObservable

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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....
 

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sferrin

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LowObservable said:
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.
 

GeorgeA

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LowObservable said:
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.
 

sferrin

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George Allegrezza said:
LowObservable said:
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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFG-gJcNVGA
 

bobbymike

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George Allegrezza said:
LowObservable said:
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.
That is an awesome picture of the B-52 and Skybolt's. I really have trouble understanding the thinking of the fixation on air breathing, yes I 'get it', but why not have developed and deployable tech like solid rockets or ASALM (ASALM is air breathing but tested to work) type systems while we continue with hypersonic scramjet air breathing research?

In the Prompt Global Strike thread, if I recall, I posted a comment from an USAF General saying we could have very fast missiles now while we develop air breathing hypersonics, well do it!! :eek:
 

Sundog

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bobbymike said:
In the Prompt Global Strike thread, if I recall, I posted a comment from an USAF General saying we could have very fast missiles now while we develop air breathing hypersonics, well do it!! :eek:

We've had very fast operational missiles before; Pershing II's. Just saying, though I guess those would be considered "regional" and not "global."
 

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bobbymike

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Re-engined? How about resurrected?

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/02/19/b52-comes-back-from-the-boneyard/23675305/
 

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I remember years ago reading a spoof article in Smithsonian Air and Space, I think, that proposed a novel modification of the B-52. What you is take several B-52s, cobble them together into a gigantic multi-fuselage monster and the radar reflection will be so ginormously huge, any enemy would be instantly terrified into submission. Moreover, space for crew amenities would benefit, allowing a bowling alley and an olympic-length swimming pool.
 

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LowObservable said:
The most recent RFI said eight engines. The CF34-10 is about the right size.


It's interesting what Clarke said, since Harencak said a month or so ago that it was dead.

Adding to the confusion on a B-52 Re-engine program, transcript of an AFA Huessy Breakfast Series talk from April 21, 2015 with Lt. Gen Stephen Wilson, Commander, USAF Global Strike Command:


MR. BRIAN BRADLEY: General, Brian Bradley, Nuclear Security and Deterrence Monitor. Regarding the possible B-52 re-engineing, we’ve heard that Pratt PW2000 engine mentioned as a possible replacement, with the possibility of a cut-down from eight engines to four engines. Can you talk about whether there is any favored engine type or number of engines and whether that program is moving forward?

GEN. WILSON: In the discussions we’ve had, initial indications make it look like an eight engine variant is better than a four engine variant. I have to do less modification to other parts of the B-52 with keeping an eight engine variant. So we are moving forward. We’ve got our team. Our team is working with AFMC. They’re working with the SPO. They’re working with Boeing. They’re working with SAF/IE on how do we do this. And for those that I’ve talked to about this, there’s both to me an operational piece and a money piece to this. As you’re all aware, our engines on the B-52 were designed in the 1950s, and they’ve been flying on that airplane since the early ‘60s. And engine technology has gone leaps and bounds in the last 55 years. Today, almost every industry engine partner has come forward and said they can give us about a 35 percent more fuel efficient engine. What that means is I can get about 35 percent more range out of a B-52, which is already substantial. That also means I can use about a third less tankers, and they can be repurposed to do other things in fill a need that we have for tankers. We also think that maintaining a 1950s era engine takes a lot of people and a lot of money, and we’re going to continue to fly the B-52 for the next 25 years. So I think there’s an operational case and I think there’s a business case, and we’re trying to get with folks on how we would do that in a public-private partnership to move forward on that.

MR. BRADLEY: Is there any expected date for an RFP?

GEN. WILSON: We think we’ll have some data to be able to go forward this summer.
 

bobbymike

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Bomb bay view on a bombing run pretty neat. Love the blog post title, "That'll BUFF Right Out" :D

http://weaponsman.com/?p=25156
 

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From Inside Defense

Air Force Developing Funding Options For New B-52 Engine

The Air Force is devising a funding strategy to replace its decades-old B-52 engine with a more energy-efficient alternative, and expects the plan will serve as a case study for future capital improvement projects that are often derailed because they require significant upfront investment
 

Triton

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"PARIS: P&W developing upgrade package for B-52 engine"
15 June, 2015 BY: Stephen Trimble Paris

Source:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/paris-pampw-developing-upgrade-package-for-b-52-engine-413485/

Pratt & Whitney is developing a proposal for a package of performance upgrades for the existing Boeing B-52 engine after the US Air Force again postponed a plan to replace the venerable bomber’s 60-year old TF33 engine.

Several four-engined solutions have been evaluated by the USAF to replace the eight TF33s on board each B-52H.

But the four-engined aircraft may not have enough rudder authority to counter the adverse yaw generated by an outboard engine-out scenario, says P&W military engines president Bennett Croswell.

So P&W proposed a re-engined B-52s with eight new turbofan engines, but the USAF instead decided to postpone the programme, he says.

The TF33 was derived from the original P&W JT3 turbojet engine that drove the first generation of jet-powered Amercian airliners.

P&W is developing an upgrade package to improve the fuel and maintenance performance for the TF33 through the end of its service life. The USAF currently plans to operate the B-52 fleet to at least 2060.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
From Inside Defense

Air Force Developing Funding Options For New B-52 Engine

The Air Force is devising a funding strategy to replace its decades-old B-52 engine with a more energy-efficient alternative, and expects the plan will serve as a case study for future capital improvement projects that are often derailed because they require significant upfront investment
One wonders how much money they'd have already saved if they'd done this 20 years ago.
 

Triton

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"USAF Looking at B-52 Engine Options"
By Aaron Mehta 5:31 p.m. EDT September 10, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2015/02/12/b52-engine-private-public-partnership/23185827/

WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is keeping an eye on options to re-engine its B-52 bombers, including the creation of a public-private partnership with an industry supplier, a top service official said.

Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes, deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements, told reporters during a Feb. 6 event that the service is looking to get "creative" on potential power plant replacements for the aging bomber fleet. Each B-52 flies on eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofan engines, an old and inefficient design produced between late 1950s and 1980s.

"To go out and buy new engines for the B-52, you'd have a really hard time fitting that into our program," Holmes acknowledged. "But that's why we're interested in a public-private partnership, which would be a different way to amortize those engines over time and pay for them in the savings that they actually generate, instead of paying for them out of savings that you hope for."

The idea would allow the service to get new engines onboard without breaking the budget. However, as Holmes noted, non-budgetary hurdles must be crossed before such an agreement could be put into place.

"There are contractor proposals to do some public-private partnerships, kind of creative ways, to get new engines on the airplane," Holmes said. "We have to work through policy and legal and legislative hurdles to be able to do that.

"The idea is in a public-private partnership, somebody funds the engine and then we pay them back over time out of the fuel savings, which are generated out of the new engines," he continued. "Our government has a way to do that with [military construction] facilities. We don't have a way to do that with airplanes, and we are exploring whether there are alternative ways that would let us do that."

In October, Global Strike Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson told reporters he had people "looking at" installing new engines on the bomber fleet, which is expected to operate until 2040.

"Look at what the airline industry is doing — they're all re-engining," Wilson said at the time. "Why? Because it saves you a lot of money. If there is a commercially available engine which can give a 25-30 percent increase in either range or loiter, you have my attention."
 

bobbymike

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Triton said:
Boeing Frontiers magazine April 2004.
Has there been any estimates of range/payload with new engines?
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
George Allegrezza said:
LowObservable said:
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.
That is an awesome picture of the B-52 and Skybolt's. I really have trouble understanding the thinking of the fixation on air breathing, yes I 'get it', but why not have developed and deployable tech like solid rockets or ASALM (ASALM is air breathing but tested to work) type systems while we continue with hypersonic scramjet air breathing research?

In the Prompt Global Strike thread, if I recall, I posted a comment from an USAF General saying we could have very fast missiles now while we develop air breathing hypersonics, well do it!! :eek:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hAf0hUDle0
 

bobbymike

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A 'Skybolt' type system (my guess is smaller maybe a modified ATACMS booster) is what they must be talking about for the Tactical Boost Glide Air Launched missile research there was an RFI for posted on the Prompt Strike thread.
 

LowObservable

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TBG would be similar in some ways, but with a different front end: Skybolt was purely ballistic. However, it's not as tough as a global-range BGV in thermal or aerodynamic terms.

The engine economics are compelling. If the military was funded as a business it would have been done a decade or more ago - it would not only save fuel, but it would save tanker fuel (which is double-digit-times more expensive) and slash maintenance costs. (Given the B-52's planned lifetime and the performance of modern commercial engines, they'd never come off the wing.) The problem is that there is no legal mechanism for using tomorrow's operating cost savings to pay for today's acquisitions.
 

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A company could lease the engines to the government...
 

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"Take a look to the three brand-new B-52 upgraded with Volkswagen engines!"
via @CommonsAviation
 

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mz said:
A company could lease the engines to the government...
As LO notes, there isn't an easy legal method for the government to do this, even though most everyone except John McCain can see the benefit of doing it. Therein lies the rub.
 

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http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/12/upgraded-b-52j-would-be-useful-partner.html

http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/12/the-potential-100-year-life-of-b52.html
 

bobbymike

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http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-air-force-glides-toward-b-52-engine-replacement-plan
 

Archibald

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Oh the sweet irony... A-10's TF-34s for the B-52s... will they build new engines or will they take TF-34s from the scrapped Warthog fleet ?
 

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The last time the USAF tried to get an engine upgrade for the B-52s they tried to get brand new Rolls-Royce engines and they scrapped the program on cost grounds, this time they should go for brand new General Electric engines.
 

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B-52 Re-Engining

—John A. Tirpak 3/3/2017

​Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand says he will “continue to advocate” for re-engining the B-52 bomber. “We have some money to look at that,” Rand told reporters at AWS17, though the funding is only enough for “feasibility analysis.” Rand said he wants new engines on the airplane “not for safety reasons” but because new powerplants would need less maintenance—saving on maintainers badly needed elsewhere—as well as reducing fuel consumption, and extending range, meaning Air Mobility Command could put some of its bomber-supporting tankers to use on other missions. New engines would also require fewer spare parts and spend more time on-wing, meaning more availability of the jets for action, Rand said. “There are about four or five good reasons” to do it, Rand said, but it would require the approval of Congress to use “creative” financing schemes to get the engines, he said. Those include a possible lease if USAF opted to do the program, but not buy the equipment outright. Rand later told Air Force Magazine that the ballpark price of a B-52 re-engining would be about $7 billion, assuming eight engines on each of the jets in the fleet. But “all dollars are in competition” with other worthy projects, Rand said. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson, himself former head of AFGSC, has been a big proponent of B-52 re-engining “and still is,” Rand said.
 
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