Alert: B-52 Bomber Readied For Intense Hypersonic Weapons Test And Deployment Role
The B-52H’s ample wing and external load-carrying capability have contributed to the aircraft’s prominent role in hypersonic testing and, as a result, the bomber’s future is closely tied to the upcoming demonstration and deployment of the U.S. Air Force’s first-generation hypervelocity strike weapons.
With major upgrades underway and reengining planned to sustain the B-52H to 2050, the Air Force intends to retain the long-serving bomber as the mainstay of its long-range strike fleet alongside the new Northrop Grumman B-21s as they are delivered beginning in the late 2020s. In particular, the B-52 is set to play a major role in enhancing standoff capability because rocket-boosted and air-breathing hypersonic weapons will be large, making them a challenging store for internal carriage.
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