Electronic warfare role eyed for B-52
The lumbering B-52 just keeps on keeping on. The latest upgrade is the Stand-Off Jammer program to install major radar-jamming capability to the old beast:
The Air Force plans to modify 16 of the high-altitude bombers to carry 12 two-pod sets, with an initial operational capability in 2014 and an early operational capability desired in 2012, according to Dave Kratz, the B-52 SOJ capture team leader at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems in Bethpage, N.Y. The 16 B-52Hs and another 60 of the aircraft are slated to receive new electronic support measures equipment for detecting enemy radar emitters.
If funding permits, the service hopes to modify those 60 additional B-52Hs to carry the 30- to 40-foot-long electronic warfare pods. The B-52Hs will retain their full bombing capability.
The Air Force hasn’t had major radar-jamming capability since the EF-111s were retired in the late 90s. While this may, actually, be your father’s B-52, it ain’t your father’s B-52.