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Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson: Air Force Eyes Engine Upgrade for B-52 Bombers

Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson

The U.S. Air Force wants to modernize the engines of its Boeing B-52 bombers as the service aims to improve the aircraft’s fuel efficiency in the long run, Defense News reported Sunday.

Aaron Mehta writes that Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, head of the USAF Global Strike Command, believes upgrading the B-52 engines could help the branch generate long-term fuel and maintenance cost savings.

“I’m hearing from industry that is saying they are putting engines on airplanes today and they won’t take them off-wing for over 20 years, so there’s [also] a manpower savings in this,” Wilson told reporters at a Mitchell Institute-hosted event last week.

“If there is a commercially available engine which can give a 25-30 percent increase in either range or loiter, you have my attention,” he added, according to the report.

Mehta reports Pratt & Whitney-made turbofan engines power the Air Force’s existing Boeing B-52 fleet.

Richard Aboulafia, a Teal Group analyst, suggested the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engine used on Boeing 757 commercial jets and C-17 military cargo planes would be a good alternative to the current bomber engine.

A Pratt & Whitney spokesperson indicated the company is discussing potential B-52 engine options with the service, according to Defense News.

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