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The Military IT Technology

B-52 Gets First Full IT Upgrade Since 1961 190

An anonymous reader writes in with good news for everyone who wants to hold a LAN party in a Stratofortress. "The US Air Force's 10th Flight Test Squadron recently took delivery of the first B-52H Stratofortress to complete a refit through the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) program. It's an effort to bring the Cold War era heavy bomber into the 21st century way of warfare—or at least up to the 1990s, technology-wise. While the aircraft received piecemeal upgrades over the past 50 years of flying, CONECT is the first major information technology overhaul for the Air Force's B-52H fleet since the airplanes started entering service in 1961."
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B-52 Gets First Full IT Upgrade Since 1961

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @06:48PM (#47095523)

    Those things just keep on flying, despite more hours than can be believed.

  • I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stox ( 131684 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @06:48PM (#47095525) Homepage

    if an engineer, who designed the B52, would have imagined, in their wildest dreams, that the B52 would still be a major weapon of war over 50 years after it was built?

  • by raxx7 ( 205260 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @07:42PM (#47095771) Homepage

    Bombs, even precision GPS or laser guided ones, are much cheaper than missiles. And a B-52 can carry a lot of them.
    As a platform for loitering around an area and dropping precision weapons as requested, it should be the most cost effective platform USAF has.
    And the option of carpet bombing is occasionally useful too.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @07:49PM (#47095809) Homepage

    Well, not exactly. But certainly if you proposed having a computer onboard in 1961, the first reaction would be: The B52 is big but it's not that big!

    Second would be "What would you do with one?"

  • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:20PM (#47095935) Homepage

    a single B52 can utterly destroy any country on this planet. Yes even china and russia. The number of heavy nukes one can carry is quite scary.

    In the Bay it can carry up to 20 AGM-69 SRAM nuclear missiles. That is 20 cities obliterated.... But wait...
    It can also carry12 AGM-86s, on underwing pylons.

    So now not only can we nuke 20 cities out of existence, but it can also blow to hell 12 military bases or small towns just for giggles.

    Now here is some fun, when they SCRAM they fly in 3-5 aircraft formations towards their targets. That is 60-100 Nukes and 52 Kaboom splatters each.

    Still think they are just for dropping small bombs on goats?

  • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:25PM (#47095973) Journal

    We only built a handful of modern fighters and B2s. If that handful gives us air supremacy, the B52s work just find for the heavy lifting. Since the military actually tries to save money these days, and budgets only shrink, a cost-effective bomber that's already built and flying certainly has its place.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:44PM (#47096089) Journal

    You COULD use ICBMs, but maintaining appreviously purchased aircraft is a lot less expensive than building a bunch of ICBMs.

    ICBMs are a no-no. Too quick from launch to impact, and too difficult to quickly tell where they are going to land. The Russians would be having heart attacks at record-setting levels if the US switched to all-ICBMs all-the-time, since the middle-east isn't far from Russia (not far for an ICBM, that is).

    Not quite so true in the reverse case, as since Russia doesn't ever get into skirmishes with any American countries, so we've got a big ocean buffer.

    Besides, I think the GP was just assuming that a new model of aircraft would be more cost-effective than B-52s... Not realizing that the engines have been replaced/upgraded, aerospace materials haven't changed yet, and the aerodynamics of the old sky truck are still good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:37PM (#47096363)

    Interesting that the aircraft has outlived all of the actors and the director of that fantastic movie.

  • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:58PM (#47097009)

    As someone whose spouse works in government and I have friends in the government supplying parts to the Air Force, I have knowledge about budgets. They are NEVER cut. In fact, not getting an increase is getting a cut. Also they ALWAYS burn all the money appropriated, as not doing so will mean that the money will not be available the next budget cycle. The stupid corrupted government may take the money they have a use it stupidly but lets not even claim there is ever a cut.

    In fact the government uses baseline budgeting which prevents the ability to ever even cut the total amount - its just moved around from one corrupt thing to another.

    I do agree that between radar hunting missiles and missile systems and the ability to completely destroy any country's (beside China or Russia) radar and SAM and AAA capability before flying manned sorties over enemy airspace prevents the need for anything more than a B52 - a radar cross signature of the the empire state building and subsonic - perfectly usable in a modern theater. If the B52 cant fly at FL350 with impunity, you have a lot more work to do or your friends that need burning from the air got a fresh load of portable/hand held SAMs.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling