USAF Planning Test Flight of B-52 Bomber with Upgraded Electronic Warfare Suite in 2024

These upgrades will ensure the B-52's continued relevance and reliability through the 2050s and will further assist the USAF with their Global Strike Mission.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 11:35 AM, March 29, 2024
  • 1106
 USAF Planning Test Flight of B-52 Bomber with Upgraded Electronic Warfare Suite in 2024
B-52 strategic bomber @L3Harris

The United States' Air Force (USAF) plans to test fly its B-52 strategic bomber equipped with a new electronic warfare (EW) system supplied by L3 Harris this year.

Under a $947 million contract awarded in 2021, L3Harris is upgrading the AN/ALQ-172 electronic warfare (EW) self-protection system for the B-52, enhancing its capabilities against electronic threats.

These upgrades will ensure the B-52's continued relevance and reliability through the 2050s and will further assist the USAF with their Global Strike Mission.

"Our adversaries continue to evolve, fielding advanced, long-range threats that challenge our ability to operate in contested environments," says Robert Raymond, Air Force Program Lead, EW Technology Development, L3Harris. "It is critical that we provide our B-52 aircrew with the tools they need to keep the B-52 relevant, lethal, and survivable as the backbone of the United States' strategic bomber force."

 

 USAF Planning Test Flight of B-52 Bomber with Upgraded Electronic Warfare Suite in 2024
AN/ALQ-172 electronic warfare self-protection system

The ALQ-172 Maintainability and Reliability System (MARS) modernization effort aims to increase the B-52's reliability through a modular design, enhancing system performance and reducing maintenance requirements.

With an upgraded integrated radio frequency system, aircrews can counter multiple radar threats simultaneously, improving operational efficiency. By replacing analog systems with cost-effective software solutions, the USAF plans to reduce B-52 crew sizes from 5 to 4.

Jimmy Mercado, L3Harris Program Director said, "We're implementing affordable solutions that provide aircrews with more advanced protection against the most sophisticated radar-detected threats,"

"This all adds up to a more modern, efficient and effective aircraft that's ready to dominate the future fight."

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