USAF begins receiving new B-52 'smart' weapons bay launchers | World Defense

USAF begins receiving new B-52 'smart' weapons bay launchers


Dec 5, 2014
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USAF begins receiving new B-52 'smart' weapons bay launchers
Marina Malenic, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
13 January 2016

Boeing's latest upgrade of the USAF's B-52 fleet enables air crews to employ smart munitions from the internal weapons bay for the first time. Source: USAF
Boeing has delivered enhanced internal weapons bay launchers that enable the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress to carry satellite-guided munitions in the weapons bay for the first time, following several months of successful ground and flight testing, the company announced on 13 January.

Six of the US Air Force's (USAF's) 76 B-52Hs are now equipped with the new system, according to the company. The 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade (IWBU) enhancement modifies an existing Common Strategic Rotary Launcher in the internal weapons bay into a Conventional Rotary Launcher and increases the total number of smart weapons the B-52 can carry and deliver.

The launchers, which can be transferred between aircraft, can carry, target, and launch eight Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). Future increments of the launcher are expected to add the capability to carry Joint Air-to-Surface Stand Off Missiles (JASSMs) and Miniature Air Launched Decoys (MALDs).

"The upgrades to the B-52 bomber's internal weapons bay have made it possible to have zero gap on the bomber's long-range bombing capabilities as we transfer from Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles [CALCMs] to Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range [JASSM-ER]," Colonel Tim Dickinson, USAF B-52 programme director, said in the statement.

The USAF's B-52 fleet currently comprises 76 operational platforms, managed by the USAF's Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana. An additional 12 non-operational B-52H bombers are stored at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona.
USAF begins receiving new B-52 'smart' weapons bay launchers | IHS Jane's 360