In what is expected to keep Boeing’s B-52 bomber flying into the 2050s, the company has selected Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies company, to upgrade the aircraft with a new electric power generation system (EPGS). This is being done as part of the US Air Force’s ongoing modernisation efforts.
As per the deal, Collins will supply a modern EPGS derived from industry-leading commercial technology. The new EPGS will be an upgrade to the B-52's current 70-year-old system, with more efficient technology that requires less power from the engine to operate.
The US Air Force expects this to contribute to its goal of a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency for the B-52 along with a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions.
The new EPGS will include eight generators per aircraft providing the added redundancy in on-board electrical power necessary to support future B-52 modernisation upgrades including radar, avionics and mission systems, said the company.
In addition to the EPGS, Collins has also won a mandate to provide new wheels and carbon brakes for the B-52. Collins currently supplies several systems for the aircraft and is actively working with the Air Force and Boeing to explore how it can support further B-52 modernisation efforts, including communications and avionics upgrades.
Collins expects to create more than 60 jobs to support the B-52 EPGS programme at its Electric Power Systems Center of Excellence in Rockford, Illinois.
Stan Kottke, Vice President, Electric Power Systems, Collins Aerospace said the company is the supplier of choice for virtually all US Air Force aircraft. “Our new EPGS for the B-52 will leverage proven commercial technology to support greener aircraft operation, while also paving the way for future platform enhancements that will extend the operational service life of the Stratofortress for decades to come,” he said.