Boeing Modernized B-52 Bombers’ Weapons Bay Launcher

Upgrade increases B-52 weapons capacity and flexibility; first prototype successfully installed

Issue 58 - February 2015

Boeing  and U.S. Air Force personnel successfully installed the first prototype of a new B-52 bomber weapons bay launcher. The change improves the aircraft’s weapons capacity and mission flexibility.

The upgrade modifies an existing common strategic rotary launcher into a conventional rotary launcher, enabling the B-52 to carry GPS-guided or “smart” weapons in the weapons bay. The bomber has been able to carry smart weapons on its wing pylons for years but adding this capability in the bay increases the quantity and variety of B-52 smart weapons carriage. The change is important because, by creating the option to fly the aircraft with no visible weapons on its wings, it offers crew members greater mission flexibility to adapt to changing conditions on the ground.