Defense

May 14, 2012

Global Strike Command leader previews B-52 upgrades

Tags:
Air Force photographs by Jet Fabara

Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski operates the combat network communications technology program on board a B-52H Stratofortress test bomber May 2, 2012, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The communications program is designed to bring the B-52H from the analog to the digital age, enabling it to effectively communicate, integrate and network within the joint force environment. Kowalski is the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.

During a recent visit to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command spent time with B-52 Stratofortress combined test force officials to preview the combat capability enhancements made to the B-52H.

Modernizing and sustaining the nation’s long-range strike aviation capability is a top priority for the command, Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, said.

Kowalski also emphasized that this is the “Year of the B-52,” marking both the 50th anniversary of the last delivery of a B-52H to Minot Air Force base, N.D., and the 60th anniversary of the first test flight of the YB-52 prototype.

He attributed the reliability and combat capability of the dual-role bomber to talented maintenance personnel, outstanding depot support and the Air Force’s continued investment in the airframe.

The B-52H is a dual-capable aircraft designed to carry a variety of weapons in support of a range of military operations. It has been projected for a number of upgrades, which have already been made to the two B-52H test aircraft at Edwards AFB.

These upgrades are integral to ensuring the B-52H is both effective and able to fully integrate with other services as envisioned in the Air-Sea Battle concept, according to command officials.

Among the upgrades is a guided “smart weapon” capability in the B-52H’s internal weapons bay that provides a 66 percent increase in guided weapons payloads. Another current program is an upgrade to the latest advanced targeting pod, which will increase the B-52H effectiveness when performing close air support and other missions.

Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski discusses upgrades made to a B-52H Stratofortress test aircraft with Maj. Jonathan Beich and Mr. John Kirk on May 2, 2012, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Kowalski is the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; Beich and Kirk are B-52H test radar navigators.

One of the test aircraft at Edwards AFB also featured an improved on-board communications upgrade called combat network communications technology. The CONECT program brings the B-52H from the analog into the digital age, command officials said, providing an invaluable data link, over which to pass mission and threat data.

The new defense strategy places a greater emphasis on the Pacific, Kowalski said, making it important that U.S. bombers are fully networked and integrated with the joint force.

The AFGSC provides a fleet of B-52Hs and a cadre of Airmen from Minot AFB, and Barksdale AFB year-round in support of the continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific, which ensures stability and peace in the region.

“Long-range, payload, persistence … these three attributes underlie key capabilities provided by Global Strike Command’s B-2 Spirit and B-52H fleet,” said Col. Rick Mitchell, the command’s bomber requirements division chief. “These attributes become increasingly important to combat the ‘tyranny of distance’ posed by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

These digital enhancements will ensure the viability of the B-52H well into the 21st century, Mitchell said.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 

AF Test Pilot School applications due in June

The 2015 Air Force Test Pilot School selection board will convene July 20-24 to consider candidates for July 2016 and January 2017 classes. Applications are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by June 5. The board will select applicants for fighter, multi-engine aircraft, helicopter and remotely piloted aircraft pilot, combat systems officers – to...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel

Last MC-130P Combat Shadows in the Pacific retire

Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel An MC-130P Combat Shadow awaits its final checks on Kadena Air Base, Japan, before departing for the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 15, 2015. The 17th S...
 
 
F22-hero1

F-22 test squadron recognizes decorated squadron member, Vietnam hero

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara William Freckleton, 412th Range Squadron lead F-22 range control officer, poses before his F-16D incentive flight April 21. Freckleton is the only decorated Vietnam veteran at the 411th Flight...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

AFRL redesigns mock UAV, ‘Surrogate Predator’

Courtesy photograph An enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 is prepared for takeoff. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors were added to the Cessna 182 so it can mimic a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Air Force Rese...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>