Technicians completed the digital upgrades to the first B-52 bomber modernized under the Combat Network Communications Technology program at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker AFB, Okla. CONECT takes “the B-52 from a rotary-dial phone to a smartphone,” Air Force Global Strike Command overseer Alan Williams said in a release. The new datalinks, systems, and software allows real time intelligence and targeting data transmission “so that they can get the most current data” to adapt flight planning en route, added Williams. OCALC began work on the first B-52 last July under a $76 million low-rate initial production contract with Boeing. AFGSC currently has funding in place to upgrade a total of 30 B-52Hs, with eventual plans to install upgrades on the entire fleet, according to the release. Tinker’s 10th Flight Test Squadron redelivered the first B-52 to Barksdale AFB, La., on April 21.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.