posted on Oct, 27 2014 @ 02:21 PM
Very interesting Op/Ed on Aviation Week today. The original decision to put new engines on the B-52 was first put forward in 1982, after the RB211,
and PW2000 entered service. Pratt&Whitney did a study that showed a B-52 with new engines could fly farther, with less tanker support.
But that is when one bad decision after another started.
In 1982 the Air Force expected to replace the entire B-52 fleet by 2000, with the B-1, and B-2s. By the 1990s, the B-1 no longer carried cruise
missiles, and the B-2 was cut to 21. Rolls Royce offered a lease program for RB211s, but among other things legal issues tanked that deal.
A report released in 2004, showed that the Air Force made a simple mistake in calculating savings and the repayment period for the deal. When they
calculated the fuel cost, they calculated ground fuel costs, and left out that fuel pumped through a KC-135 into the B-52 was 15 times more
Now they have the problem that not only does no one make the TF33 anymore, there's nothing that even LOOKS like the TF33 anymore. The latest
proposal, that makes a hell of a lot of sense, which means that it probably won't go anywhere, is that GE is offering to replace the TF33s with 8
Next on the list are the C-17 and E-3. It'll be interesting to see if they get those right.
The U.S. Air Force is taking a serious look at reengining the Boeing B-52. The question is not whether it makes sense, but why it hasn’t been
done. The answers include poor planning, budgetary procedures that defied economic logic and at least one bone-headed accounting error.
Putting new engines on the Buff, or Big Ugly Fat (cough) Fella, became a possibility after 1978, when the commercial business launched two modern
powerplants that would fit a four-engine Buff: the Rolls-Royce RB.211-535 and Pratt & Whitney PW2000. Pratt published a study in early 1982 that
showed the reengined airplane would fly farther and need less tanker support.
But in 1982 the Air Force expected to replace all of its bombers, well before 2000, with 100 B-1Bs and 132 Advanced Technology Bombers (ATB); and gas
was cheap. The idea went nowhere.