With new radar and engines in sight, the B-52 gets ready for ‘largest modification in its history’

有了新的雷达和发动机,B-52已准备好进行“历史上最大的改装”

Date:2022-08-31 Source:breakingdefense By:VALERIE INSINNA Viewed:

“There's a lot that can go wrong on the program management side,” Col. Louis Ruscetta, senior materiel leader of the B-52 division, said of the bomber's upcoming modernization. “We have to try to manage and reduce what can go wrong."
“在项目管理方面可能会出现很多问题,”B-52部门的高级军需负责人路易斯·鲁塞塔上校在谈到轰炸机即将进行的现代化改造时说。 “我们必须设法管理和减少可能出现的问题。”
 
By   VALERIE INSINNA
on August 26, 2022
作者:瓦莱丽·因西纳
2022年8月26日
 

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron refuels a B-52 Stratofortress during a cross country mission 13 Sept 2021.  (US Air Force/2nd Lt. Mary Begy)
2021年9月13日,第465空中加油中队的KC-135同温层加油机在一次跨国任务中为B-52同温层堡垒加油。(美国空军/2nd Lt. Mary Begy)
 
WASHINGTON — At 70 years old, the venerable B-52 Stratofortress is getting a major facelift, what one Air Force official recently called the “largest modification program in its history,” that the service hopes will keep the plane relevant to 2050 at least. That’s if the service can juggle two major upgrades simultaneously — an ambitious goal for which the Air Force is still formulating a strategy.
华盛顿-历史悠久的B-52同温层堡垒已经70岁了,正在进行一次重大翻新,一位空军官员最近称之为“历史上最大的改装计划”,该机构希望这架飞机至少能保持到2050年。如果该服务能够同时进行两次重大升级,这是一个雄心勃勃的目标,空军仍在制定战略。
 
In the middle of the decade, the service will begin outfitting the B-52 with the Raytheon AN/APG-79 radar used by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. At roughly the same time, it will embark on an ambitious engine replacement program, swapping the bomber’s aging Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines with a version of the Rolls-Royce F130.
在这十年中,该服务将开始为B-52配备F/A-18E/F“超级大黄蜂”使用的雷神公司AN/APG-79雷达。大致同时,它将启动一项雄心勃勃的发动机更换计划,将轰炸机老化的普惠TF33发动机更换为劳斯莱斯F130。
 
Col. Louis Ruscetta, the Air Force’s senior materiel leader of the B-52 division, told reporters at the Air Force’s  Life Cycle Industry Days conference earlier this month that the Air Force was looking to “identify those friction areas” in terms of ensuring the B-52 has the space, power and cooling necessary to support all of those modifications and to guarantee that changes on one modification program don’t have a ripple effect across the B-52 fleet.
空军B-52部门高级军需负责人路易斯·鲁塞塔上校本月早些时候在空军生命周期工业日会议上告诉记者,空军正在寻求“确定那些分歧区域”,以确保B-52拥有支持所有这些改装所需的空间、电力和冷却系统,并保证对一个改装计划的更改不会对B-52机队产生连锁反应。
 
“There’s a lot that can go wrong on the program management side,” he said. “We have to try to manage and reduce what can go wrong.”
“项目管理方面有很多问题,”他说。 “我们必须设法管理和减少可能出现的问题。”
 
Ruscetta called the radar upgrade the “most exciting modification” in terms of adding new capability to the bomber. “This is really a game changer as you look at B-52 really performing that long range standoff capability as we go to a two-bomber force structure,” which will include the B-52 and upcoming B-21 Raider, he said. Specifically, the new radar will improve situational awareness, giving the B-52 a better ability to identify and prosecute targets.
路易斯·鲁塞塔上校称雷达升级为“最令人兴奋的改进”,为轰炸机增加了新的能力。“这真的是一个游戏规则的改变,因为你看到B-52在我们进入双轰炸机编队时真的表现出了远程对峙的能力,”他说,“这将包括B-52和即将到来的B-21突袭者。”具体而言,新雷达将提高态势感知,使B-52具有更好的识别和打击目标的能力。
 
To accommodate the Raytheon AN/APG-79, the B-52 will need modifications to its cooling systems, and the radar itself will be positioned “upside down” so that it can look down at the ground rather than the upward positioning used for the Super Hornet.
为了适应雷神AN/APG-79,B-52需要对其冷却系统进行修改,雷达本身将“倒置”定位,以便它可以俯视地面,而不是超级大黄蜂所使用的向上定位。
 
The Air Force recently completed the critical design review and is currently building a systems integration lab, which will act as a testbed that will allow the service to figure out how to integrate the radar in the B-52 before making changes to the actual aircraft, Ruscetta said.
鲁西塔说,空军最近完成了关键设计审查,目前正在建设一个系统集成实验室,该实验室将作为一个试验台,使该服务能够在对实际飞机进行更改之前弄清楚如何将雷达集成到B-52中。
 
Flight testing is scheduled to start late 2025, he said. The Air Force plans to declare initial operating capability for the radar upgrade in 2027, after fielding six operational B-52s with the new radar.
他说,飞行测试计划于2025年底开始。空军计划在部署6架配备新雷达的B-52作战飞机后,于2027年宣布雷达升级的初始化作战能力。
 
Meanwhile, the Air Force has already started work on the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program, which will add eight new F130 engines to each B-52 as well as several supporting modifications, such a new nacelles, pylons, generators and cockpit display systems. The service awarded Rolls-Royce a $2.6 billion contact last year.
与此同时,空军已经开始了B-52商用发动机更换计划的工作,该计划将为每架B-52增加8台新的F130发动机,以及一些配套改装,如新的机舱、塔架、发电机和驾驶舱显示系统。该服务去年授予劳斯莱斯公司26亿美元的合同。
 
“There is no future of the B-52 without the engine replacement program,” Ruscetta said. “The TF33 is essentially unsupportable now, and so we are doing what we can to keep that on life support until the engine replacement program comes along.”
鲁西塔说:“没有发动机更换计划,B-52就没有未来,”“TF33现在基本上无法支持,因此我们正在尽我们所能保持生命支持,直到发动机更换计划出现。”
 
The Air Force held an engine subsystem preliminary design review last month, Ruscetta said, adding that he was “very happy” with the progress Rolls-Royce is making in terms of making design changes to the F130. A full system preliminary design review is set to occur later this year, he said.
鲁西塔说,空军上个月举行了发动机子系统初步设计审查,并补充说他对劳斯莱斯公司在F130进行设计更改方面取得的进展“非常高兴”。他说,今年晚些时候将进行全面的系统初步设计审查。
 
Although replacing the TF33 engines with a new, modern engine will inevitably improve fuel efficiency and range, there are no explicit requirements for the F130 to improve B-52 performance characteristics in order to limit development and field the new engines as quickly as possible, Ruscetta said.
鲁西塔说,尽管用新的现代发动机替换TF33发动机将无容置疑地提高燃油效率和航程,但没有明确要求F130提高B-52的性能特性以限制新发动机的开发和尽快投入使用。
 
“There’s nothing that’s concerning me from the design [standpoint] right now,” he said. “I think the design is fairly stable. What we are seeing really is — and I think this is [true for] managing any program in a COVID environment right now — supply chain challenges.”
“从现在的设计[立场]来看,我没有什么可担心的,”鲁西塔说。“我认为设计相当稳定。我们真正看到的是——我认为现在在COVID环境中管理任何项目都是如此——供应链挑战。”
 
Currently, the Air Force anticipates outfitting the first B-52s with new engines in the 2026-2027 timeframe, with initial operational capability occurring in 2030. The service is still working out exactly how the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base will juggle both the radar and engine replacement modifications, as the new radar will be ready to be installed before the new engines.
目前,美国空军预计在2026-2027年为首批B-52配备新发动机,初始作战能力将在2030年实现。美国空军仍在研究位于廷克空军基地的俄克拉荷马城航空后勤基地将如何兼顾雷达和发动机更换改装,因为新雷达将在新发动机之前准备好安装。
 
“The first jets that will come out of that [radar] mod line will most likely have radar only, and then at some point, probably at their next depot timeline, [they will] come back to get the engine replacement,” he said. However, once both the engine and radar replacement programs are in full swing, B-52s will likely receive both technologies during the same depot period.
他说:“第一批从(雷达)改装线出来的喷气式飞机很可能只配备雷达,然后在某个时间点,可能在他们的下一个基地时间点,[他们]会回来更换发动机。”。然而,一旦发动机和雷达的更换计划全面展开,B-52很可能在同一个基地期间接受这两种技术。
 
Although Ruscetta said the program is moving smoothly, lawmakers have voiced concerns about potential cost increases over the life of the program. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing in May, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., questioned Air Force acquisition executive Andrew Hunter over a 50 percent cost hike to the B-52 CERP program, according to Air Force Magazine.
尽管鲁西塔表示该计划进展顺利,但立法者对该计划生命周期内的潜在成本增加表示担忧。据《空军杂志》报道,在5月的众议院军事委员会听证会上,弗吉尼亚州共和党众议员罗布·威特曼就B-52 CERP计划的成本增加50%问题向空军采购执行官安德鲁·亨特提出质疑。
 
Ruscetta said that cost calculation was “taken out of context,” with the figure resulting from comparing current cost estimates with the Air Force’s early business case estimates instead of the program’s cost baseline.
鲁西塔表示,成本计算“脱离上下文”,该数字是将当前成本估算与空军早期商业案例估算(而非项目成本基线)进行比较得出的。
 
“The program has seen minor cost growth since our first true AF independent cost estimate in 2019 of about 12%,” he said in an emailed statement to reporters after the roundtable. “The FY22 NDAA established a cost baseline for the CERP program using the FY20 cost estimate. Currently we have seen estimate growth of 3% from the congressionally mandated baseline.”
“自2019年我们第一次真正的AF独立成本估计约为12%以来,该计划的成本略有增长,”他在圆桌会议后给记者的电子邮件声明中说。“2022财年NDAA使用 2020财年成本估算为CERP计划建立了成本基准。目前,我们已经看到与国会规定的基线相比估计增长了3%。”
 
The Air Force intends to deliver a selected acquisition report to Congress “in the very near future” that will lay out the full status of the program, fulfilling an statutory obligation laid out inf the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill, Ruscetta said.
鲁西塔说,空军打算“在不久的将来”向国会提交一份选定的采购报告,该报告将列出该计划的全部状态,履行2022财年国防政策法案中规定的法定义务。

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