Modernisation of the US Air Force B-52H

Issue: 7 / 2018

The current modernisation programme of the Air Force’s B-52H aims to make the platform even more lethal. According to a recently published RFI, the Air Force plans to equip the B-52H wing pylon to carry a single weapon weighing up to the 20,000lb which potentially includes the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB). The new pylon will essentially quadruple the weight of bombs that the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress is able to carry externally. The B-52H subsonic heavy bomber remains the mainstay of the US strategic fleet even after more than 50 years of service. The Air Force originally envisioned replacing B-52s with a fleet of supersonic bombers, but the subsonic, long-range H-model has persisted since it entered the fleet in 1961. Instead of transitioning to retirement, the USAF now plans to continue operating the fleet until they reach nearly the century-mark in 2060.