Oldest US bomber will get Rolls-Royce engines over GE and Pratt

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc’s North American unit beat out General Electric Co. and today’s Pratt & Whitney to provide upgraded engines for the old Air Force B-52 bomber at a prize that could grow to $ 2. 6 billion, the Pentagon announced.

Rolls-Royce received an initial $ 501 million, six-year base contract to supply 608 engines, as well as spare parts, maintenance and engineering information through 2038 for installation on the Force’s 76 B-52s in active and reserve duty. Aerial Each plane has eight engines.

The deal could grow to $ 2.6 billion if all options are exercised. The Air Force wants to keep the B-52 in service until about 2050. The engine replacement is part of an estimated $ 11 billion upgrade program that includes new flight systems, cockpit throttles and cockpit displays.

The B-52, which first flew Cold War missions in 1954 with nuclear bombs, has since become a platform for precision-guided, non-nuclear weapons. He is affectionately known among Airmen as BUFF, an acronym sometimes described as “Big Ugly Fat Fellow.”

The work will be done at the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed in September 2038, the Pentagon said. Rolls-Royce said it has invested more than $ 600 million in Indianapolis in advanced manufacturing and technology “to create the most advanced engine manufacturing site in the United States.”

General Electric’s offerings included its CF34-10 and Passport engines. Pratt & Whitney, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., offered its PW800.

More recently, B-52s were deployed to provide air cover for the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending the Pentagon’s 20-year war in that country. B-52s led by US special operations forces using laser and GPS designators dropped precision-guided bombs on the Taliban during the first weeks of the invasion of Afghanistan.

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