During the early 1970s, all B-52Gs and Hs were modified to carry AGM-69A short-range attack missiles (SRAMs). Additionally, all Gs and Hs were equipped with an AN/ASQ-151 electro-optical viewing system (EVS), using forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and low-light-level TV sensors to improve their low-level flight capability, and were updated with Phase VI avionics. These include ALQ-122 SNOE (smart noise operation equipment) and AN/ALQ-155(V) advanced ECM; and AFSATCOM kit permitting worldwide communications via satellite; a Dalmo Victor ALR-46 digital radar warning receiver; Westinghouse ALQ-153 pulse-Doppler tail warning radar; and an improved ITT Avionics ALQ-117 Pave Mint or ALQ-172 ECM jamming system. The G/Hs have also been fitted with a
digital-based solid-state offensive avionics system (OAS) that includes inertial guidance. Tercom (terrain comparison) guidance, and microprocessors to upgrade their navigation and weapons delivery systems.
Deployment of the B-1B and development of the B-2A have led to a change in the primary role of the B-52 to ALCM (AGM-86) carrier. A typical profile envisaged multiple ALCM launches at high altitude, often followed by B-52 low-level descent to attack additional targets using gravity weapons or SRAMs (currently grounded). USAF originally deployed AGM-86s on 98 on-line B-52Gs and 95 B-52Hs, each with 12 external cruise missiles, but the former are being retired by FY 1993. Full-scale production of the Common Strategic Rotary Launcher (CRSL), which will permit internal carriage of eight additional AGM-86s in the B-52H, is underway. This will allow a total ALCM offensive weapon load of 20 cruise missiles. Full operational capability for this system at
all SAC bases is scheduled for late summer 1993. B-52Hs will also be equipped with the AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM). Captive-carry tests of twelve ACMs mounted on a B-52H's underwing pylons began early in 1989. Initial operational capability is anticipated this year at SAC's 410th Bomb Wing, K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan.
All B-52 crews train to drop conventional weapons, and the ALCM-modified B-52Gs have been assigned increasingly to support conventional operations by employing airpower over great distances at short notice on behalf of theater CINCs. In 1988, certain B-52Gs achieved IOC fitted with an Integrated Conventional Stores Management System (ICSMS). This enables aircraft to carry a range of conventional weapons, as required, by rearranging data stored in the weapon systems computer using a preprogrammed, removable software cassette. Other modifications being assessed to enhance the B-52's conventional capabilities, include GPS, multimode radio, and a Vinson secure voice radio system. Future upgrades under consideration include a micrwave landing system, replacement of the offensive avionics system computer, and certification of GBU-10 and GBU-12 laser-guided bomb carriage and deployment. The 39 non-ALCM-modified B-52Gs are assigned to the primary role of ·upporting the conventional requirements of theater CINCs and naval antisurface warfare operations, with 30 of the aircraft modified for Harpoon deployment, one full squadron is based at Loring AFB, Maine, for Atlantic operations. (Data for B-52G, except where noted.)
ontractor: Boeing Military Airplanes.
ower Plant: eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-43WB turbojets; each 13,750 lb thrust.
ccommodation: two pilots, side by side, plus navigator, radar navigator, and electronic warfare officer.
imensions: span 185 ft 0 in, length 160 ft 11 in, height 40 ft 8 in.
eight: G/H models gross more than 488,000 lb.
erformance (approx); max level speed at high altitude 595 mph, service ceiling 55,000 ft, range more than 7,500 miles.
Armament: G/H models carry eight SRAMs and nuclear free-fall bombs internally and 12 AGM-86B ALCMs instead of SRAMs externally. Provision for eight more ALCMs instead of SRAMs internally on H model. Alternatively, G and H models can carry conventional weapons including bombs up to 2,000 lb, air-dropped mines, cluster bombs, and, on some B-52G aircraft, AGM-142A Have Nap missiles or eight to 12 Harpoons in underwing clusters.
--AIR FORCE Magazine, May 1992
By Susan H.H. Young; Edited by John W.R. Taylor