B-52 Re-Engining

Archibald

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I second that opinion, it is pretty weird to see a B-52 landing that way - seemingly all wrong, yet perfectly under control.
 

mkellytx

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I second that opinion, it is pretty weird to see a B-52 landing that way - seemingly all wrong, yet perfectly under control.
It looks strange from the outside. It feels downright unnatural the first time from inside. My first flight in the jump seat looking across the pilots body at the runway went against every piloting instinct I had from flying "normal" airplanes. It is pretty impressive though to watch the pilots look out the side and still scan the panel.
 

mkellytx

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I guess that's how you can easily differentiate a B-52 pilot from its copilot: the exaggerated aperture of their Left/Right eyes.
@TomcatViP @Trident, Love it! I was going to make some joke about normal pilots nodding their craniums vertically and BUFF pilots diagonally. The chameleon is brilliant, hats off gentlemen.
 

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The final B-52 bomber rolled off a Boeing Wichita, Kansas, assembly line in June 1962. Now some 60 years later, that same factory will make parts for the new engines slated for installation on the wings of the still-flying B-52. Spirit AeroSystems, the company that now owns those one-time Boeing hangars, will make engine pylons and nacelles for the new engines, the company said in a statement. Each B-52 has eight engines, and the Air Force intends to replace 608 engines in all.
 

Foo Fighter

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Thanks mate. I am pretty sure there are no more airframes in the boneyard fit for retrieval so I suppose that is that.
 

Josh_TN

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Thanks mate. I am pretty sure there are no more airframes in the boneyard fit for retrieval so I suppose that is that.
There are I think exactly eleven, at least one of which I think is beyond repair. But to maintain the current strength they have and will refurbish an airframe. I believe this happened as recently as 2-3 years ago.
 

Foo Fighter

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Ta, I heard 12 in the 'yard recently but we know the interweb is not the most reliable or up to date source at any one time.
 

Archibald

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102 B-52H were built back then. So the percentage of surviving and in service airframes is pretty high - 76 + 12 = 88.
 

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The regeneration center in Tucson actually has a list of available airframes; I think you can actually directly read from the Air Force itself how many are available rather than trusting the interwebs and I think it is something in the 10-12 range. I remember finding the site and seeing elven were in storage but one had been parted out or otherwise taken apart such that it could not be restored to flight, but I'm going from memory.
 

mkellytx

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The regeneration center in Tucson actually has a list of available airframes; I think you can actually directly read from the Air Force itself how many are available rather than trusting the interwebs and I think it is something in the 10-12 range. I remember finding the site and seeing elven were in storage but one had been parted out or otherwise taken apart such that it could not be restored to flight, but I'm going from memory.
The March 2022 list is up on the website, 11 airframes in inventory:

60-0010B052H
28-Aug-08​
CELEBRITY
60-0014B052H
11-Dec-08​
3​
60-0019B052H
7-Aug-08​
26​
60-0020B052H
4-Sep-08​
26​
60-0030B052H
21-Aug-08​
26​
60-0043B052H
2-Oct-08​
26​
60-0046B052H
23-Oct-08​
26​
60-0049B052H
28-Jul-17​
24​
61-0023B052H
24-Jul-08​
26​
61-0024B052H
6-Jan-09​
26​
61-0027B052H
21-Jan-09​
26​
 

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It appears that USAF will be re-designating the reengined B-52s as the B-52J.


Honestly, as a long term B-52 replacement, I wonder how viable an airliner derivative would be. The P-8 does set a precedence in terms of an airliner derivative that can launch weapons.
 

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The 757 would be the logical choice, its got a lot of commonality with the 767/KC-46. The question is, are there enough low flight-hour air-frames out there that could be converted?
 

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If they've reopened the factory where these aircraft were first built and are spending billions on new engines, nacelles and pylons why not just spend a little bit more and build them new wings too?
 

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Because the old wings will get the Air Force and the B-52 to the currently planned "out-of-service" date whereas the old engines will not (at a cost less than that of replacing the old engines).

There is no publicly known reason to replace the wings (like the B-52D Pacer Plank effort of the '70s). And new wings are not "a little more". Have you looked at the cost of A-10 rewinging?
 

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It appears that USAF will be re-designating the reengined B-52s as the B-52J.
Interesting, not like that designation doesn't have a history with reengining the BUFF... Wonder if anything else from the last J comes back?

The monster Stand-Off Jammer (SOJ) EW suite? I'd guess not, since they will need the Js as standoff missile shooters instead.
 

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The monster Stand-Off Jammer (SOJ) EW suite? I'd guess not, since they will need the Js as standoff missile shooters instead.
Who says the two roles are mutually exclusive? Back in the day SOJ needed new engines, new generators, CONNECT, MALD-J and the SOJ suite, all the enablers except SOJ are now on the way. The new EW proposed station really didn't do much to the offenders downstairs. Now, nothing about this has been said publicly, but it makes me wonder if that might make a come back quietly some time in the future.
 

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I get the impression the USAF has decided that it will use UAVs for jamming going forward, either small disposable types like MALD-J/X or whatever the "attritable" coponent of NGAD ends up being. In any case I can't see them employing B-52s for the role; it's a non-replaceable, limited fleet that they would want to keep out of HARM's way...
 

mkellytx

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I get the impression the USAF has decided that it will use UAVs for jamming going forward, either small disposable types like MALD-J/X or whatever the "attritable" coponent of NGAD ends up being. In any case I can't see them employing B-52s for the role; it's a non-replaceable, limited fleet that they would want to keep out of HARM's way...
Generally I agree with your take and for shorter wavelengths all of the above makes a whole lot of sense. Where I would disagree is that the BUFF will still stand off to launch MALD's of all flavors, JASSM's and hypersonic cruise missiles (with multi-SMO all three on the same mission). All will be back far enough from any AAD systems. The SO of SOJ is also stand off, the old thought was to have something that would target the longer wavelengths/EW radars that would need large, heavy pods that a Super Bug or UAV couldn't carry. Again the idea was to stand off like for shooting MALD/JASSM/CALCM back in my day.

Granted there's no program of record and it's been a long time since I last saw the wish list, but I wouldn't be shocked if some EW refresh gets floated after the reengine is fully funded.
 

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I get the impression the USAF has decided that it will use UAVs for jamming going forward, either small disposable types like MALD-J/X or whatever the "attritable" coponent of NGAD ends up being. In any case I can't see them employing B-52s for the role; it's a non-replaceable, limited fleet that they would want to keep out of HARM's way...
Did you sneak in a reference to a certain mishap there?
 

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Now…could you put a splint across the top of the B-52 wings and have engines up there with hoses to where the pylons attached? You might get higher by-pass designs that don’t drag on the runway.
 

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Now…could you put a splint across the top of the B-52 wings and have engines up there with hoses to where the pylons attached? You might get higher by-pass designs that don’t drag on the runway.

No. And why?
 

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Interesting...full-length fan bypass in the nacelle. Implications there. Thanks @flateric, I missed that.
 

publiusr

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Huh…I thought I had seen a model on TV of a B-52 with only four wider engines. Landings too tricky for that. This looks very doable.
 

mkellytx

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Huh…I thought I had seen a model on TV of a B-52 with only four wider engines. Landings too tricky for that. This looks very doable.
I've seen the model hung from the ceiling at the Boeing Wichita plant, turns out there wasn't enough rudder authority for the 757 engines to work, outboard pod clearance was a problem as well. There was a proposal to go 757 engines inboard and CFM56's outboard, but that was a non-starter.
 

aim9xray

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It got worse with knock-on problems and their solutions. If you installed a tail/rudder with sufficient authority to control the outboard-engine-out issue (loss of thrust + windmilling drag), you ran out of structural margin in the aft fuselage to sustain the reacted loads. That is to say that that the maximum loads (side load + torsion) would more than likely twist the aft fuselage off the airplane.

(That sort of thing happened with the B-58 in flight test; an outboard engine throttle slam from AB to Idle at Mach 2. The aft fuselage forward of the vertical stabilizer failed as the aircraft yawed beyond limits and the aircraft disintegrated. There was no structural cure, just a note in the Flight Handbook to the effect of "WARNING - Don't do that".)

Of course you could strengthen or replace the B-52 aft fuselage, which would then up the cost [much] further (NRE + new structures validation + flight test program - what could possibly go wrong?). And then, the added weight would shift the C.G. aft, impacting weapons carriage and fuel loading and probably impacting payload...
 

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Of course you could strengthen or replace the B-52 aft fuselage, which would then up the cost [much] further (NRE + new structures validation + flight test program - what could possibly go wrong?). And then, the added weight would shift the C.G. aft, impacting weapons carriage and fuel loading and probably impacting payload...
As if the CG isn't already going back with the newer engines, unless of course there's a bunch of ballast...
 

publiusr

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That’s why I mentioned a splint. Make the wings stronger…wrap around to the landing heat maybe…something like a truss/striker frame us geriatrics all wear, you know…for our lumbago. B-52 isn’t the only thing getting up in years.
 

mkellytx

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Wow, eight birds for the CTF, damn. When we were there we just got balls 36 for CONNECT and SOJ. Life was good with two.

Nice bit of Deja vu, the new pod looks a lot like the old J57 pod.
Interesting...full-length fan bypass in the nacelle. Implications there.
Such as? Less drag? Heat exchangers? Something else?
The BR725 has a mixer at the back of the duct, helps with noise and a bit with drag
 
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