On Jan. 4, 2022 B-52H 61-0009 began her next journey to Oklahoma where she will become the test bed for research and modernization for the B-52 fleet.
B-52H 61-0009, a piece of American history, is on the move: according to Boneyard Safari Facebook Page, after Worldwide aircraft recovery painstakingly prepared the aircraft for transport by removing the wing and horizonal stabilizer at Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson (AZ), on Jan. 4, 2022 the bomber began her next journey to Oklahoma where she will become the test bed for research and modernization for the B-52 fleet.
As explained by Brian Brackens, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs, in the article B-52 parts to be used in research, modernization and innovation efforts, the left wing and fuselage [main body of the aircraft] will eventually be relocated to a Boeing facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where it will serve as an integration model. The right wing and horizontal stabilizer of 61-0009 will be transported to McFarland Research and Development in Wichita, Kansas to support structural integrity research for the B-52H Aircraft Structural Integrity Program or ASIP.
Upon arrival in Oklahoma City, the left wing and fuselage will be reattached and used to test how new technology or modifications will integrate with B-52 aircraft. The integration model or mock-up will support a number of current and future modification initiatives, to include the Commercial Engine Replacement Program and Radar Modernization Program.
The integration model will not be limited to just weapons. Any technology or capability designed to hang on the wing or attach to the fuselage can be tested, to include pods and antennas. Additionally, the model will open up opportunities for innovation by providing access to industry and other government agencies via Cooperative Research and Development Agreements to test out new ideas and equipment.
While at McFarland Research and Development, the right wing and horizontal stabilizer will be studied in order to learn more about structural limitations and how long the Air Force can expect the parts to last on B-52s currently flying. Most importantly, the research there will provide key structural data on the B-52H, which will guide future decisions about the platform.
As already reported, before being taken out of storage and being towed to the Pima Air & Space Museum, B-52H tail number 61-0009 was in non-flyable status at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), AZ.
It took about four months to disassemble the plane and get it ready for the move. The entire trip will take about three weeks.
Photo credit: April McDonald and Mark Hybers / U.S. Air Force
Check out Boneyard Safari Facebook Page for more beautiful photos on B-52H 61-0009’s road trip.