Upgrading B-52 Bomb Bays

The Air Force and Boeing have upgraded the bomb bay launchers in six B-52 bombers, allowing the aircraft to carry smart bombs in the weapons bay for the first time. The upgrade is needed as the B-52s eventually transition from the Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles to the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range, said Col. Tim Dickinson, USAF’s B-52 program director, in a Boeing release. The upgrade modifies the B-52s existing common strategic rotary launcher to increase the total number of weapons the B-52 can carry. The launchers can carry eight GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions, with future upgrades coming that will allow the launchers to carry standoff missile and Miniature Air Launched Decoys, according to Boeing. (See also: Carlisle Provides JSTARS and JASSM-ER Update.)