posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 02:17 PM
I don't know what the current BUFF flight hours are, but the limit appears to be between 32,500-37,000 flight hours before the wings will give out.
That will apparently end their lives somewhere around 2044 based on current and projected flight hours.
Updated with modern technology, the B-52 will continue into the 21st century as an important element of US forces. There is a proposal under
consideration to re-engine the remaining B-52H aircraft to extend the service life. B-52 re-engine plans, if implemented, call for the B-52 to be
utilized through 2025. Current engineering analysis show the B-52's life span to extend beyond the year 2040. The limiting factor of the B-52’s
service life is the economic limit of the aircraft's upper wing surface, calculated to be approximately 32,500 to 37,500 flight hours. Based on the
projected economic service life and forecast mishap rates, the Air Force will be unable to maintain the requirement of 62 aircraft by 2044, after 84
years in service
Shadow, the current mission for the BUFF is being rewritten into a stand off jamming platform. They're rewriting the electronic wrafare doctrine.
The current proposal would have the BUFF be upgraded into the J model, with more long range jamming added to it. They'll keep the bomb bay, so they
can perform bombing missions if necessary, but their primary roll will be to stay out of the strike area, with the MC-130, and perform long range
jamming for the strike package.
Also in the standoff range—still outside enemy air defenses—will be the B-52 standoff jammer. This is a standard B-52H with upgraded electronics,
featuring two outboard wing pods which will carry a suite of powerful jamming gear. The large pods—each potentially as much as 40 feet long—will
be able to generate as much power as six Prowlers. Each will weigh about 5,000 pounds, the same weight as a full external fuel tank.
Although initially dubbed EB-52s, the aircraft have been rechristened B-52 SOJ or just B-52J because they will retain their full bombing capability.
No new crew members will be needed.
[edit on 11/24/2005 by Zaphod58]