Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: B-52 Stratofortress
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): April 1952
Total Production: 744
Total Cost: USD$55 billion
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Description: The B-52H Stratofortress is a long range, high subsonic, heavyweight bomber designed to carry nuclear and conventional precision weaponry. It can assume a nuclear deterrent role as well as a tactical conventional role. The tactical role is very appreciated due to the extremely high weapons capacity of the B-52 bomber.
The B-52 was first used in the Vietnam war and subsequently over Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and recently over Iraq during operation Iraqi Freedom. The US Air Force plans to upgrade continuously the B-52 bomber in order to deliver the latest weaponry and remain in active service until 2045 or later.
The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in 1955. A total of 744 B-54s were built for the US Air Force and the last one, a B-52H, was delivered in October 1962. The first of 102 B-52H bombers was delivered to Strategic Air Command in May 1961 during the Cold War. The B-52H fleet is expected to remain in service with the US Air Force until at least 2040.
Lockheed-Martin was awarded a $30 million contract in June 2004 to increase the performance and memory of B-52H's mission computer. The improved mission computer, now called the Avionics Control Unit, will enable the B-52H to deploy new precision weapons and integrate future capabilities as well as supporting the reliability and sustainability of the aircraft until 2040.
The first installation of the improved mission computer on a B-52H is scheduled for late 2005, with all installations due to be completed by 2009. The Avionics Control Unit will replace the current AP-101C mission computer. As of November 2004, Boeing was actively pursuing to provide interoperability, which means share data and voice communications via mobile wireless networks, for network-centric operations to the B-52H fleet.
Under the US Air Force's Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) system of systems initiative the B-52 was set to receive the StandOff Jammer (SOJ) capability. SOJ program would add jamming to the B-52's current decoys and strike capabilities. The pre-System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract decision was anticipated before the end of 2005 with the B-52 aircraft deploying full SOJ capability by 2012.
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