DOD awards $14.3 billion bomber service contract to BoeingPublished: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 By: Daisy Creager Source: The Journal Record
Tinker Air Force Base will be the site of research and evaluation of the B-1 Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bomber fleets through a contract awarded to Boeing by the Department of Defense.
The B-1/B-52 Flexible Acquisition Sustainment is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, costing up to $14.31 billion and planned for up to 10 years.
The research and evaluation work will be performed at Tinker AFB with help from Boeing engineers to research, develop, test and evaluate the fleets.
According to the DOD announcement, the contract allows for future efforts to “increase lethality, enhance survivability, improve supportability, and increase responsiveness.”
Boeing Communications Specialist Lori Rasmussen said the contract includes separately funded delivery orders involving development, sustainment, analysis and production projects for both bombers.
The contract is an extension of a similar $750 million contract that was awarded in 2009 and expired in 2019, Rasmussen said.
She said work on the B-52 bomber will include new engines and “critical modernization for the B-52 platform” to extend the life of the aircraft through 2050 and possibly longer.
Work on the B-1 will include sustainment work and studies of the weapon carriage capacity.
The first order of the contract is a $1.2 million advanced extremely high frequency communication integration study of the B-52, which will involve a study of the communications system of the aircraft, Rasmussen said.
Produced by Boeing from the beginning, the B-52H Stratofortress entered service in 1961. It is the Air Force’s long-range multirole bomber and principal strategic nuclear conventional weapons platform.
The Air Force awarded Boeing a 10-year engineering sustainment program contract in 2009 to provide engineering, technical, system integration and test support of the B-52.
Rasmussen said the extension of use of the legacy tanker to 2050 speaks to the quality of engineering of the aircraft.
“It’s dynamic in terms of its capabilities, its massive weapons capacity and carriage. With the commercial engine replacement program, it’s going to provide modern, fuel-efficient engines that will only enhance its operational capabilities, while improving its environmental impact as well,” she said.
The B-1 Lancer entered service with the Air Force in 1985, originally produced by Rockwell International, which was acquired by Boeing. It is a long-range, multimission bomber.
The aircraft is projected to be in service through the mid-2030s.
While Rasmussen could not provide a number, she said the contract will create jobs in Boeing’s Oklahoma City location.
“The Oklahoma City hiring numbers have been on an upward trend, and that growth pattern is expected to continue,” she said. “Those planned bomber modernizations will certainly play a significant role in the continued growth of the Oklahoma City site.”
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