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The B-52 Is Becoming A Terrifyingly Intelligent Smart Weapons Truck

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by KingCheetah, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    Likes Received:

    The B-52 has only been able to carry smart weapons on its external pylons, with its internal weapons bay being relegated to nuclear and dumb bombs, as well as some older cruise missiles. Now, the iconic 60 year old Stratofortress is finally getting a new ‘smart’ rotary weapons rack and other upgrades that will more than double its smart weapons punch.

    You could say that the B-52’s empty weapons bay has been the most under-utilized real estate in the entire USAF. Even as the B-52’s utility morphed over the decades (from a nuclear interdiction option, to a carpet bomber, to a nuclear cruise missile carrier, to a conventional cruise missile carrier, to a smart bomb lobber, to a precision close air support platform) the big bomber’s cavernous belly has become more and more of an empty afterthought.

    The B-52’s internal weapons bays and weapons racks were never wired for modern munitions. The all-important 1760 Aircraft/Store Electrical Interconnection System, which allows the crew to program modern weapons in flight, came long after even the B-52s AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missiles were put into service. This is finally changing, with a program called the “1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade.”

    This upgrade will see the B-52H’s old cruise missile racks rebuilt and rewired to 1760 data-bus electronic interface standards. These revitalized rotary weapons racks are called Conventional Rotary Launchers (CRL) and they are currently being tested with the 419th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB.

    Under the first phase of this upgrade, the Conventional Rotary Launcher will be able to hold 24 GBU-38 500lb JDAMs or a whopping 20 of the GBU-31 2,000lb JDAMs. Laser guided JDAMs and other smart gravity and glide bombs will follow soon after. Yet short-range weapons will not be the CRL’s only claim to combat fame. Soon, the launcher will be able to sling gobs of stand-off weapons such as the stealthy AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the very guileful Miniture Air Launched Decoy Jammers (MALD-J).

    What this means is that a single B-52H could fly thousands of miles around the globe, approach the outer edge of an enemy’s air defenses and let loose a full on barrage of stealth cruise missiles and smart cruise decoys, then turn around to cruise back to base for more weapons and a new crew.

  2. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

    Feb 16, 2007
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    Great! Now we will finally beat ISIS!

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