GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce have expressed interest in bidding on the program.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has published a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the B-52H re-engine program. A total of 608 engines plus additional spare engines and support equipment are required. They are to be delivered over 17 years.
These new engines will allow the service to keep the iconic BUFF operational until at least 2050.
The USAF’s B-52Hs’ engines are the Pratt & Whitney TF33-PW-103s which have powered the aircraft since the early 1960s. The TF33 is based on the commercial JT3D that powered the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. Each Stratofortress has eight engines.
According to Flight Global, the service wants a military derivative of a commercial engine to replace those turbines.
CF34-10s, which powers commercial aircraft like Bombardier and Embraer regional jets, and Passport turbofans, which power Bombardier’s Global 7500 business jet are the two engines that GE Aviation plans to offer. The PW800 engine, which powers Gulfstream G500 and G600 business jets, is the engine that plans to offer Pratt & Whitney. Finally, R-R plans to offer the F130 engine (shown in the main image of this post), a military derivative of the company’s BR700, which is also the engine of Gulfstream business jets and other aircraft.
Noteworthy the USAF is looking for a replacement engine that has a similar size, thrust and weight compared to the legacy P&W powerplants. Each of those engines generate 17,000lb-thrust (75.7kN).
However, the service also wants a modern turbofan with a higher bypass ratio and digital engine controls. It wants that engine to have reduced fuel consumption, noise, emissions and operating costs.
For more than 60 years, B-52s have been the backbone of the strategic bomber force for the US. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. This includes gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions. Updated with modern technology, the B-52 is capable of delivering the full complement of joint developed weapons.
The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in 1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built, with the last, a B-52H, delivered in October 1962. The first of 102 B-52H’s was delivered to Strategic Air Command in May 1961.
Photo credit: Rolls Royce