Upgrade Aims to Keep Aircraft in Service Till at Least 2050
Boeing has selected Raytheon as supplier of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the B-52 radar modernisation programme, the latter company announced on 11 July.
With an AESA radar on board, the B-52 will gain improved navigation reliability to support nuclear and conventional missions. This advanced radar upgrade programme, for which low rate initial production is scheduled to begin in 2024, is aimed at keeping the venerable bomber mission ready through 2050 and beyond. Raytheon will design, develop and sustain the radar – which will be based on AESA technologies developed from the APG-79/APG-82 family – for the entire US Air Force B-52 fleet, which MON sister publication The World Defence Almanac 2018 shows as consisting of 76 aircraft.
“When it comes to years spent flying in support of our nation’s defense,” observed Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions Vice President, Eric Ditmar, “our new AESA radars give aircrews the eyes they need to achieve their mission for the duration of the B-52’s service life.”
The B-52 will also benefit from improved mapping and detection range, as well as an increase in the number of targets it can engage simultaneously. Along with improved capabilities that help crews see further and more accurately, Raytheon’s AESA radar offers greater reliability than the current system because it has no moving parts and uses modern operating software.