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The Legendary B-52 Stratofortress Is Getting A Buttload Of New Bombs
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.”
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.