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B-52H re-engining costs rise by 9%

21st June 2021 - 11:35 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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B-52H Stratofortress seen from a KC-10 Extender. (Photo: USAF/Louis Briscese)

Equipping the USAF Stratofortress fleet with new commercial engines is proving an expensive undertaking.

The B-52 Commercial Re-Engining Program (CERP) for the USAF will cost more than anticipated, Acting Air Force Secretary John P Roth admitted on 17 June.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Roth said that CERP costs for the 76-strong B-52H Stratofortress fleet have risen by 9% to about $11 billion, although he denied recent media reports of a 50% increase.

Roth attributed the 9% jump to information obtained from virtual prototyping of the system, certain ‘realities of buying from the current industrial base’ plus ‘a reassessment of the requirement’ and costs associated with the complexity of integrating a modern engine into the ageing B-52H, which entered service in the early 1960s.

USAF Global Strike Command told Shephard in April that it ‘is still evaluating proposals from industry for the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program and is continuing to evaluate industry’s offerings’.

CERP contenders include GE with its CF34 and Passport engines, Rolls-Royce with the F130 and Pratt & Whitney (P&W) with the PW800.

The decision on CERP will probably not happen until late in Q3 or Q4 this year.

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