Boeing updates B-52 bombers with CONECT comms system
The first B-52 with Boeing's CONECT communications system has been rolled out to the US Air Force
The US Air Force has introduced its first B-52 bomber to be equipped with Boeing's Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system. Boeing says that the system provides increased situational awareness for B-52 crews. It is hoped that it will contribute towards the B-52's continued use for many years.
The intention to modify B-52s with the CONECT system was announced along with a number of other improvements in 2011. It was then announced last year that the B-52's weapons systems would also be updated and would work with the CONECT system to improve the plane's flexibility.
Although Boeing has produced test aircraft with the CONECT system installed, this is the first production model, a Boeing representative explained to Gizmag. It was delivered out of Tinker Air Force Base, where US Air Force employees performed the install with help from Boeing engineers.
The US Air Force operates a total of 76 B-52s. They are run primarily out of Barksdale Air Force Base and Andersen Air Force Base. The entire fleet is expected to be upgraded with the CONECT system.
The system adds a number of data links, color LCD displays with real-time intelligence feeds overlaid on moving maps, a "state-of-the-art" computing network and, "the ability to retarget a weapon, or mission parameters, in flight." It also provides an increased capacity for expanded voice and data communications.
About the Author
Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds.
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Soon these old war horses are going to be older than the flight crews parents. They will be fine as long as they don't have to interact with hostile air defense systems.
apply to cargo force & AF1, Marine One, copter units alone
& modify for airlines?
SlowKlue: Historically, When BUFFS, ( Big Ugly Fat Fellas), have "interacted with hostile air defenses", the hostiles die. This is pretty much the intent of any attacking aircraft and the BUFFs have an excellent track record. With ongoing redesigns and updates these excellent aircraft could easily continue flying for another 30-40 years. Just because a design or a given aircraft is old does mean that it is inherently irrelevant. The C47, (DC3), came back into service during Vietnam as a great platform for gatling guns aimed out the cargo door, literally these were Puff the Magic Dragon.
It's interesting, the military continuously improves this air frame, and from what I remember has plans to keep it operational until some time between its 75th and 100th year of operation, because it does its job and fulfills its role perfectly while at the same time they are moth-balling the A-10 (which does its job and fulfills its role perfectly), for an estimated savings of $4 billion over 10 years, in favor of the F-35 multi-role fighter (generally jack of all trades equipment aren't as good as their dedicated counterparts), for an estimated cost of $150 billion over 10 years.
I wish I could "save" money like the government does and still survive.
RT1583, the short history is that the Airforce hierarchy starts with the fighter jocks and heads downhill. The Airforce has always hated the A10 and having to provide close air support to us lowly ground soldiers. At one time the AF wanted kill the A10 and the Army cheerfully said we would be glad to expand our air capability by adding the A10 to rotary wing craft like the Apache. The AF did an abrupt about face and allowed that they would retain the A10. That argument still holds value. The A10 is a proven plane and excellent weapon, literally this is one of the weapons that has absolutely terrorized the Taliban. It is amazing to watch a Warthog flip up high then turn or roll into a sharp dive, pick up speed, and then visibly slow down as that angry chainsaw gatling gun drills rounds into a target. As I recall, each bullet is something like only two feet apart and moving fast & accurate.
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