OKLAHOMA CITY, 8 May 2013. Boeing (NYSE:BA) engineers are upgrading the communications system on U.S. Air ForceB-52 bombers to enable aircrews to send and receive information via satellite links, change mission plans and retarget weapons in flight, and better interact with aircraft and ground forces.
Mission information has been uploaded to a B-52 only before a flight, not during. This upgrade, one of the largest improvements to the venerable bomber fleet, will significantly update the communications system and, in turn, improve B-52 effectiveness and flexibility.
"We are bringing this amazing workhorse of a bomber into the digital age and giving our customer the infrastructure necessary for continued future improvements," says Scot Oathout, Boeing B-52 program director.
The upgrade comes via a new $76 million Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) contract that covers low-rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance/service at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. System installation will begin during the latter part of 2014.
Other improvements will include a state-of-the-art computing network with workstations at each crew position and an integrated digital interphone with increased capacity. Crew members will be able to talk to one another on headsets with noise-cancelling technology.