The Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3 engines on the USAF's fleet of 76 B-52H bombers are to be replaced by Rolls-Royce F130 engines. The entire fleet is due to be modernised by 2035. (Janes/Patrick Allen)
The US Air Force (USAF) has contracted Rolls-Royce to provide the powerplants to re-engine its fleet of Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bombers.
Announced on 24 September, the initial indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) award is valued at USD500.9 million over six years. If all options are exercised, the value will rise to USD2.6 billion, encompassing 608 commercial engines (76 aircraft at eight engines each), spare engines, support equipment, and related data and services.
The contract will be performed at the company's Indianapolis facility in Indiana, and is expected to be completed by 23 September 2038. According to the USAF, the first two fully modified B-52s are projected to be delivered by the end of 2025, ahead of ground and flight testing. The first operational B-52s with the new engines are projected for delivery by the end of 2028, with the entire fleet modified by 2035.
In securing the USAF's long anticipated requirement to replace the B-52's Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3 (designated JT3 in civil use) with its F130 (BR725 in civil use) powerplant, Rolls-Royce beat off competition from the incumbent manufacturer and its PW800, and General Electric (GE) Aviation with both its CF34-10 and newer Passport propulsion system.
It remains to be seen if one or both of the losing vendors might protest the decision. However, with the F130 already powering a number of USAF aircraft types, such as the Bombardier Global 6000 regional jet-based E-11A and the C-37 Gulfstream V, the service already has much of the required support and sustainment infrastructure in place.