The US military is spending $1.1 billion to upgrade dozens of B-52H bombers, boosting the aircraft’s brainpower and making it easier for the plane to share complicated targeting information.
The Foreign Policy reported on Thursday the project known as Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) is planned for coming years.
The bombers will be equipped with software upgrades, radios, and computer servers – plus digital work stations that will replace aging control panels.
“As the adversary moves and adjusts and different sensors move and adjust, the B-52 will say, ‘Yep, this target shifted. It moved over here and I know where it is,'” Brig. Gen. Fred Stoss, who oversees upgrades to the plane, told Foreign Policy.
“So it can do what it needs to do with a very agile enemy and it can stay plugged in with all the other platforms.”
The US bomber was last produced in 1962 and it is expected to remain in service until 2040.
The first upgraded B-52 landed at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on April 21. But dozens more planes are expected to receive the upgrades in coming years.
The US Air Force also is also planning a massive upgrade to the B-52s bomb bays, reconfiguring them to allow smart weapons can be installed internally, improving fuel efficiency.