B-52 gets communication upgrade

Sept. 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM

WICHITA, Kan., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force B-52 fleet will be integrated with an extremely high frequency system for air and space communication, the Boeing Co. said.

Boeing announced it received a $5.4 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to integrate the new satellite communication system into the B-52 fleet.

Over a three-tiered program, Boeing will develop, design and integrate the new system into the Global Information Grid. The total value of the contract is expected to exceed $100 million.

The EHF system enables the B-52 to exchange information through the family of advanced line-of-sight terminals that will allow the bomber to communicate with both air and space platforms.

"This capability, along with the rest of the suite, will provide B-52 crews with better situational awareness and extend the long arm of the B-52 even further into the battlefield," said Scot Oathout, B-52 program manager for Boeing.

Boeing is in the process of upgrading the software and installing advanced targeting pods on the B-52 on an 18-month schedule, the company said.

An upgraded B-52 flew its first test flight in May.

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