The U.S. Air Force is planning to install new engines on the B-52 bomber, arguably the most iconic airframe in the history of aviation. It might seem a little late in the game to be putting new propulsion systems on a plane that has already seen over 60 years of service, but in fact the B-52 is likely to keep flying through 2040. The new engines are emblematic of the B-52’s long history of upgrades and refinements that have taken it from being a high-altitude nuclear bomber in the 1960s to a close air support plane in places like Afghanistan today. No bomber in history has proven more adaptable and versatile, thanks to the B-52’s abundant growth margins and the Air Force’s commitment to keeping a superior aircraft relevant. It helped that airframe prime contractor Boeing and engine maker Pratt & Whitney worked closely with the Air Force at each stage in what turned out to be a unique history of service to the nation. I have written a commentary for the Air Force here.
Find Archived Articles: