The 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., made its first live run with a new addition to the aging bomber.
With constant upgrades bringing the more than 60 year-old bomber into the 21st century, the addition of the sniper pod gives the B-52H Stratofortress better integration with ground forces and laser-guided bombs for precision strike capability.
“This flight was the first time that the 2nd BW has used the sniper pod with live ordinance like the LGB,” said Capt. Ryan Allen, a 20th Bomb Squadron radar navigation instructor. “This pod gives a faster response time to our targets. What would normally take me 30 to 40 button presses in five minutes, now only takes me a few seconds to actually target and drop munitions.”
This new capability also allows the aircrew to coordinate with ground forces in a new way that is beneficial to their safety and planning.
“With the pod we can integrate with the guys on the ground and let them see what we see. This way we are on the same page,” Allen said. “It also gives us a greater visibility range over that of the previous one.”
With technology constantly moving forward this new pod gives its own set of challenges to the B-52.
“The way the pod can interact with our avionics system is state of the art,” Allen said. “Most of the systems had to be radically improved to give us total interaction between the new and old.”
With constant improvements on the aging plane, the 2nd Bomb Wing continues its mission of providing global deterrence – anywhere and anytime.