Across from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City sits a wealth of engineering expertise on the B-52 Stratofortress – the Air Force bomber that has been a symbol of American might for more than five decades. The close proximity to Tinker has helped Boeing’s engineers partner with the Air Force in the latest upgrade to the B-52 bomber.
Engineers have developed and built three prototypes for a new weapons launcher to be equipped in the weapons bay of the B-52, and close cooperation with the U.S. Air Force allowed all three prototypes to be delivered ahead-of-schedule.
In December, the U.S. Air Force and Boeing successfully installed the first prototype of the new launcher to transform the B-52 weapons bay enabling deployment of GPS-guided “smart” weapons for the first time. The new launcher also increases weapons capacity, providing crew members with greater flexibility to adapt to changing conditions on the ground.
Military crews will continue field testing the new launcher prototypes at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. until March, when flight tests commence.
Check out this video on the latest technology to upgrade the weapons bay and expand B-52 capabilities: