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B 52 engines
Posted on: 02/02/18

Senators Call for White House to Fund B-52 Modernization, Re-Engining

A bipartisan group of senators this week sent a letter to the White House urging funding for B-52 modernization, including new engine development. “During the development of the next generation of bombers, the Air Force will continue to rely on the B-52 for vital operations around the world, which reinforces the need to upgrade these engines and the technology supporting the aircraft,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said in a statement. It is “imperative” that the Air Force gets new engines for the 76 B-52s in service to keep the bombers sustainable beyond 2030, according to the Jan. 31 letter, which was directed to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. In addition to Heitkamp, the letter was signed by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.); Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.); James Lankford  (R-Okla.); Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Chris Murphy (D-Conn). Heitkamp and Hoeven represent North Dakota, which hosts B-52s at Minot Air Force Base. Oklahoma is home to Tinker Air Force Base and the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, which does long-term maintenance on B-52s. Connecticut is home to Pratt & Whitney (the manufacturer of the current engines), while GE Aviation and Rolls Royce have a presence in Indiana, both of which have stated interest in competing for B-52 re-engining work. The Air Force said in December it has “initial seed funding” in the 2018 budget to begin re-engining the B-52. The aircraft is currently powered by eight TF33-PW-103 engines, which began service in the 1960s, according to Pratt & Whitney. —Brian Everstine, AF Magazine

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