A new image from Boeing shows how the B-52H will look after a series of modifications that the Air Force has said are significant enough to warrant re-designating the aircraft as the B-52J or K. The image was rendered from a digital prototyping model and is likely to closely resemble the final version.
Prominent in the image are the larger-diameter fans of the new F130 engines to be built by Rolls-Royce North America. Also noteworthy are how the engine nacelles, each containing two engines, are set higher and farther forward than the nacelles for the Pratt & Whitney TF-33 engines with which the B-52 has been flying since 1962. The new engines are set higher in part to provide more ground clearance. The need to validate how the new engines/nacelles will behave in relation to the wing and flap system is a major part of the flight testing program set to start in the next two years.
The nose of the aircraft will also be streamlined, losing the blisters that currently house the forward-looking infrared/electro-optical viewing system to facilitate the new radar, a variant of the AN/APG-79 used on the Boeing F/A-18EF SuperHornet. The FLIR/EO system was used for terrain avoidance and battle assessment, but some of those functions will migrate to the radar or already have shifted to either a Litening or Sniper targeting pod, which the B-52 can carry on a wing pylon...
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