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US lawmakers want update on US Air Force B-52H re-engining

US lawmakers want an update on the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) progress with the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber Commercial Engine Replacement Programme (CERP), for which a request for proposals (RFP) was previously expected for mid-2019.

The fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) defence authorisation bill, which is expected to be signed into law within the next week, requires a report to Congress that includes the following information about the programme: its acquisition strategy, cost and schedule estimates, key performance parameters (KPPs), test and evaluation strategy, logistics strategy, post- production fielding strategy, and an assessment of the potential for the new engine to achieve nuclear certification.

Rolls-Royce will offer its F130 engine for the US Air Force's B-52H re-engining programme. (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce will offer its F130 engine for the US Air Force's B-52H re-engining programme. (Rolls-Royce)

According to an undated notice posted on the federal business opportunities website, the USAF would continue to review and post answers from a draft RFP and pre-solicitation conference, and expected all outstanding questions to have been answered by November 2019. Additionally the USAF had not determined whether a complete second draft RFP would be released, but at a minimum it expected posting updated documents to by December 2019 for industry review.

The USAF is targeting a final RFP to be issued in the first quarter of 2020. The service did not return a request for comment prior to publication.

The B-52 re-engining is shaping up to be a big programme. Jane’s has estimated that 650 engines will be required in total: 608 installed and 42 spares. As the average price of an engine in this category is about USD10 million and each nacelle costs about USD7 million, the winning contractor could earn USD11 billion through this programme.

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