US Air Force Upgrades Aging B-52 Nuclear Bombers for New Smart Weapons

© AFP 2023 / EPA PHOTO/PA/TIM OCKENDENAn American B-52 bomber
An American B-52 bomber - Sputnik International
Six of the ageing US Air Force’s B-52 Superfortress nuclear bombers have been modernized to fire "smart" weapons.

This picture taken by the Republic of Korea Air Force on January 10, 2016 and released via Yonhap news agency shows a US B-52 Stratofortress (bottom R) flying with South Korean F-15K fighter jets (top) and US F-16 fighter jets (bottom L) over South Korea - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Six of the ageing US Air Force’s B-52 Superfortress nuclear bombers have been modernized with weapons bay launchers that can fire "smart" weapons, defense contractor Boeing stated in a news release.

"The upgraded launchers allow the B-52 to carry GPS-guided or "smart" weapons in the weapons bay for the first time and are ready for use," the release said on Wednesday.

The enhancement modifies an existing common strategic rotary launcher in the internal weapons bay into a conventional rotary launcher, and increases the total number of smart weapons the B-52 can carry and deliver, the release explained.

The upgrades to the B-52’s weapons bay allow the force to accelerate its transition "from Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles to Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range," US Air Force B-52 Program Director Colonel Tim Dickinson said in the release.

The launchers can carry and launch eight Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Future versions will also be able to deploy Joint Air-to-Surface Missiles and Miniature Air Launched Decoys, the release added.

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