The legendary B-52H Stratofortress has been raining bombs down on terror targets across the Middle East and Southwest Asia like there’s no tomorrow. The Air Force wants to ensure it can rain down even more.
A new request for information (RFI) from Air Force Materiel Command details a need for an external weapons pylon that will quadruple the maximum weight that the B-52 can haul under its impressive wingspan from 10,000 lbs to 40,000 lbs, according to Jane’s 360. But the new upgrade is less about the number of munitions and more about the type.
A B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., drops live ordnance over the Nevada Test and Training Range near here May 12 during an Air Force firepower demonstration.U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson
“The current Improved Common Pylon (ICP) … was designed in 1959 and has been in service since the 1960s,” the RFI notes. “When it was introduced, there wasn't a requirement nor did anyone foresee a need to carry weapons heavier than 5,000 lb. It was modified in the late 1990s … and has performed exceptionally well … [but] it has limitations when it comes to heavy weight capacity.”
As Jane’s notes, the new pylon “would enable the B-52 to carry any of the air-launched munitions in the USAF inventory up to the 22,000 lb Massive Ordnance Air Burst (MOAB) bomb” that U.S. forces in Afghanistan are debating once again deploying against terror targets there.
A U.S. Air Force chart details the timeline for the internal weapons bay upgrade's (IWBUY) expanded smart munitions capability as part of Air Force Global Strike Command's B-52 modernization programChart via DoD
The B-52’s weapons systems have enjoyed some delightfully explosive updates in recent years. In December 2017, a Stratofortress set a record for the most precision munitions ever deployed by the airframe in thanks to the expanded payload offered by the brand-new Conventional Rotary Launcher (CRL).
The CRL is part of a $163 million 1760 internal weapons bay upgrade (IWBU) the Air Force is working to shanghai into the airframe, increasing the B-52’s carriage capacity by some 66% as part of a modernization roadmap designed to keep the B-52 heavily in the fight until through at least 2050.
A U.S. Air Force chart details conventional ordnance and munitions deliverable from the internal weapons bay upgrade (IWBU) currently in development as part of Air Force Global Strike Command's B-52 modernization program.Chart via DoD
Overall, the weapons upgrades will allow the airframe to accommodate new families of munitions, including the 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) packages and 1,000-pound Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM).
“Right now, the B-52 carries the largest range of munitions of any platform out there,” as Air Force Global Strike Division acquisition chief Eric Single told Task & Purpose last year. “This just allows you to carry more.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
A Coalition convoy stops to test fire their M2 machine guns and MK19 Grenade Launcher in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the Deir ez-Zor province, Syria, Nov. 22, 2018 (U.S. Army/Sgt. Matthew Crane)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - A suicide bomber drove his car into a checkpoint in northeastern Syria on Monday, injuring several soldiers of Kurdish-led forces during a joint convoy with U.S. allies, locals said.
Video game company Blizzard Entertainment, which creates blockbuster franchises like World of Warcraft and Overwatch, has stood behind veteran employment for years. On top of hiring veterans, they support many related programs, including Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty Endowment. Blizzard's goal there is to help veterans find careers by supporting organizations that prepare veterans for the job market.
A combat patrol advanced three miles north of Lucca (furthermost point occupied by American troops) to contact an enemy machine gun nest in September 1944 as part of the Italian Campaign (DoD/National Archives and Records Administration)
World War II Army veteran Milton Miller says he has never forgotten an act of cowardice by his platoon leader.
It happened in the Alban Hills south of Rome following the Allied Forces' amphibious invasion on the Italian beaches of Anzio in January 1944.