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US Air Force issues RFP for B-52 re-engining program

B-52 Stratofortress over Scotland
US Air Force file photo of a Stratofortress bomber

The US Air Force has issued an official request for proposals for the re-engining of the Boeing-built B-52 Stratofortress long-range strategic bomber.

The RFP was posted on May 19, with responses due by July this year. The service anticipates a contract award by June 2021.

The plan is to initially buy 16 to 64 engines to integrate onto prototype aircraft, plus additional spares. The remaining engines will be acquired over the course of multiple ordering periods, during the course of the next 17 years.

A total of 608 engines are to be acquired under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP), with Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric expected to compete for the mega deal.

CERP is aimed at achieving a 20 to 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, in addition to a 40 percent increase in range. The program will also ease the burden of maintenance of the ageing TF33 engines.

Equipped with commercial engines, the 76 plane Stratofortress fleet would fly alongside the Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider, the next-generation heavy bomber.

Boeing would serve as the systems integrator for the CERP program.