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​​Boeing in $14.3bn deal for B-1, B-52 modernisation

Boeing has secured a $14.3 billion contract for upgrade work for US Air Force B-1 and B-52 bombers.

“This B-1/B-52 Flexible Acquisition and Sustainment contract provides for the upcoming modernisation and sustainment efforts to increase lethality, enhance survivability, improve supportability, and increase responsiveness,” says the US Department of Defense in a 12 April contract award.

The work, ordered under a sole source contract, will be conducted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and be completed by 11 April 2029. It was awarded by the air force Life Cycle Management Center.

The award follows news in March that Boeing won a $250 million contract to integrate the Long Range Stand-Off Cruise Missile (LRSO) on the B-52H.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are developing competing versions of the LRSO, with the USAF scheduled to award a production contract around 2022. The service plans to start fielding the missile in the late 2020s.

The LRSO is a replacement for the Boeing AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile, which was designed in the mid-1970s and first fielded in 1982. The new missile will also to be integrated on the USAF’s forthcoming Northrop Grumman B-21 stealth bomber.

In February, USAF started testing an upgraded version of the B-52's Conventional Rotary Launcher, which would allow it to drop eight joint direct attack munitions from its belly.

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows that the USAF operates 76 B-52Hs with an average age of 57.2 years, and 61 B-1Bs with an average age of 31.6 years.

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