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Rolls-Royce Offers Peek At The B-52’s New Engines Undergoing Testing

Now that testing has begun, Rolls-Royce has provided first looks at the F130 turbofan engines in their dual-pod configuration that will replace the outdated TF33 engines currently equipping the U.S. Air Force’s B-52H Stratofortress fleet. Rolls-Royce has offered this imagery as part of an update on the years-long effort to re-engine and modernize the service’s bombers. In fact, the fight to get the B-52 new engines is a saga that dates back decades. ( More...

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Cleffer 17
One of the most feared aircraft in history. Glad to see it getting a prolonged life.
Alan Shepardson 9
I was stationed at Utapao Royal Thai Naval Airbase as a weapons mechanic/bomb loader during the final bombing of Hanoi in December 1972. And will never forget the BUFF’s taking off on missions. The outdoor theatre was near the end of the runway and we would cover our ears and cringe as the noise and smoke from those bombers enveloped us. Those were the days.
Arc Light
Joe Schrider 8
Imagine the Buff taxiing with those new RR engines. Won't even recognize the new sound.
bartmiller 8
My wife and I were working Flight Line Ops at EAA Oshkosh (Airventure) a few years when when a B-52 arrived. It was the weekend before the show, so pretty quiet except for everyone setting up.

I walked the left wing as it was towed to the ramp. Impressive. Looks modern and outdated, all at the same time. Huge wingspan. We had to take down a few sign posts near the taxiway so it would fit.

Interestingly, the metal panels on the side of the fuselage had an irregular texture. Give the large part of the plane that isn't pressurized, I think that some of this sheet metal is lighter weight, so has taken on an irregular surface over the years.

Got to see the cockpit some years later, in a different location. Again, a weird mixture of super modern and old fashioned.

The air frame of the B-52 is tough and maintainable, so could go on flying for several more decades.
James Simms 4
Remember reading abt a B-52 visit to Oshkosh, may have been the same plane. Pilot said they had to be ‘on the [runway] numbers’ when landing so as to have enough runway to brake & slow down.
James Simms 1
Remember reading abt a B-52 visit to Oshkosh, may have been the same plane. Pilot said they had to be ‘on the numbers’ when landing so as to have enough runway to brake & slow down.
Tom Bruce 7
about friggin time!
Yahoo Bonkers 6
I was stationed @ Bergstrom SAC in Austin TX. Flying 24-7 with extreme security. Got to see them roll in and roll out outside our barracks. Loud!
Ed Crist 6
Way back in 1965 as a young Air Policeman, stationed at Dyess AFB, I recall many times the alert B-52's scrambling and actually taking off with dense black smoke pouring out of the engines. And us young AP's getting behind the blast shields as they rolled out in formation. I haven't had the privilege of seeing one take off in decades.
Joe Keifer 5
What happened with GE, etc.? Were they in on the competition?
SkyAware123 5
probably didn't have an engine that would fit as easy as the f130
Dennis See 5
One of the most awesome military aircraft to ever grace the skies!
Mike Brady 5
Remember going to meetings in Merced in the 1980s, and having to pause every few minutes as a B52 went over landing at Castle. They were almost as loud on approach as on takeoff. Glad to see they're getting an update.
John Taylor 4
Was stationed at Castle from 1977 to 1979. Watched those beasts take off and land every day. Still had water injection, along with the KC-135 at that time. It never ceased to amaze me how much the wings flexed upward during take off roll.
Edward Dexter 5
I hope those digital controls are hardened.
Victor ODell 5
I was stationed at Blytheville AFB in the late 1950s when it was a new SAC base and the first B-52s arrived. It seemed like every morning at 5:00 AM the flight line maintenance crews would fire up some of the airplanes engines. Many times I stopped what I was doing and watched the full power, roaring and smoke trailing takeoffs.
sparkie624 8
Looks Great... Can't wait to see it operational on and aircraft...
mbrews 9
The contract to Rolls is for about 600 engines. To be manufactured in Indianapolis, Indiana
linbb 7
In the very early 50s saw the very first B52 shooting landings at Moses Lake AFB Larson. It had and was the only one to have the B47 style canopy. Was only seven at the time but seeing a picture of it when I was in tech school brought it back.
sparkie624 8
I remember watching them at Myrtle Beech when they were based there many decades ago... One thing is for Sure... They are not equipped with "Hush Kits" by any standards... You can hear them coming and hear them going!
Kevin Hamel 6
Yep, that was a memory from my youth as well. My grandfather bought an acre of land about five miles off the departure end from Castle AFB after he retired in the early 70s. I remember the roar of those engines and looking up moments later at those big birds and their exhaust trails above. As a kid it didn't register about the significance that the B-52 played in history back then... to me they were these awesome, massive and noisy planes that flew above day and night. That was definitely something to remember.
Michael Ragsdale 5
For those not taking the time to do the math, I was BORN in the early 50's and I will turn 70 this year!!
Neil Klapthor 6
My father flew BUFFs out of Seymour-Johnson in the early 60's and then in '74, I was a B52 navigator/radar navigator. After training, my first assignment was to Barksdale. When I reported in to the Bomb/Nav office, turns out the commander (a LtCol) had been my father's navigator. Said he never felt so old.
3000 hours in the's a beast!
matt jensen 4
David Pepe 4
Worked in ECM on B52s at Loring Air Force base in Maine, near limestone Maine..... One impressive a/c there were 32 of the buffs
bentwing60 7
Kinda' sad that neither GE nor P&W, the original powerplant manufacturer of any B52 ever made, could watch this happen after the many years of participation with the MIC USAF, but at least the powerplants will be manufactured in Indy.

The Buff is an Icon to anyone that knows anything about bombers, flown by crew members many decades younger than the "old school" crew here that originally saw them fly.
SkyAware123 3
curious how much more efficient these will be compared to the old engines.
Martin Dennett 3
I'm guessing fuel savings will be in the region of 100s of percent better. Compared to the coal burners currently on them they'll be a whole lot more environmentally friendly too. I can't believe it's taken so long for this to happen.

That said, I've loved watching them take off at RAF Fairford many times including the RIAT airshow on several occasions.
bentwing60 2
They have to do something, they are parking the KC135's and the KC46's are DOA!
John Taylor 3
I saw many years ago a single, high bypass fan in place of the twin engine pod installed for testing whether a single huge fan was feasible to turn it into a four engine jet. I never heard what the results were but I guess the powers that be decided it wasn't a good idea.Can you imagine seeing a real life four engine B-52? That would look totally bizarre.
James Simms 3
Probably would have required an inordinate amt. (read: expensive) of wing & plumbing redesign that wasn’t worth the time & effort for a B-52 airframe.

Might as well as developed an entirely new aircraft in that case & they don’t come cheap these days. W/the B-52, they have a time & battle proven airframe. Plus, doing that while maintaining the B-1, B-2, maintaining other line war fighters, & developing the B-21 Raider; would likely be too much budget wise.
frogandtoad 4
The engine pod looks like a resurrection of the one used on the Vickers VC-10 – obviously proven technology from the 1960’s

For interest refer - Wikipedia -

The Vickers VC10 is a mid-sized narrow body long range BRITISH jet airliner built in 1962
Powered by 4 Rolls Royce CONWAY – Mk 301 turbofans – with 22,500lbf thrust each.
ewrcap 7
Actually, proven technology from the Lockheed Jetstar. Flown five years before the VC-10.
paul gilpin 3
at least the air force was smart enough to keep the eight engine design.
those turbine engines are so unreliable 'ya know.
major kong approved this message.
Greg Kusiak 0
I wonder if these engines will be considered for the upcoming redesign of Antonov’s AN225, or if they’ll go bigger?
Peter Fuller 2
The R-R F130 for the B52 produces about 17,000 lbs thrust, while the six engines on the AN225 made about 51,000 lbs thrust each. The F130 would not be suitable for a reborn AN225
William Ableman 0
WHAT?! They're going to still have 8 engines?! I thought they were going to the four-engine configuration.
Roch Comeau 2
Keeping the configuration minimizes other modifications/certification issues. Larger engines, for example means they are closer to the ground.
Juan Jimenez -4
John Taylor 3
Pedantic comment. We all know what it means. The REAL American made in the USofA.


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