Boeing is providing an upgraded communications system for U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers that will enable aircrews to send and receive information via satellite links.
This will allow crews to change mission plans and retarget weapons in flight and better interact with aircraft and ground forces.
To date, mission information has been uploaded to a B-52 only before a flight, not during. The upgrade is one of the largest improvements to the venerable bomber fleet, will therefore significantly improve B-52 effectiveness and flexibility.
The upgrade will be done through a new $76 million Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) contract that covers low rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance and service at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. System installation will begin during the latter part of 2014.
Other improvements will include a state-of-the-art computing network with workstations at each crew position and an integrated digital interphone with increased capacity; it will enable crew members to talk to one another on headsets with noise-cancelling technology.