Rolls-Royce Wins B-52 Re-engining Contract

Credit: U.S. Air Force

Rolls-Royce has won a competition to re-engine the Boeing B-52H fleet with 608 F130 turbofan engines, the U.S. Defense Department said on Sept. 24.

The Air Force awarded Rolls-Royce a $501 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a six-year base period to integrate the military derivative of the BR.725 turbofan. If all production options are exercised, the program is worth up to $2.6 billion. 

The F130 offer was selected over proposals by Pratt & Whitney based on the PW800 and the GE Aviation CF-34 and Passport engines. 

The German-built BR.725 engine design will be assembled as the F130 for the Air Force at Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing complex in Indianapolis. 

Although the BR.725 was designed to power the Gulfstream G650, a close variant, the BR.710, is installed on the Bombardier Global 6000 fleet. The latter received the F130 designation on the Air Force E-11A fleet. 

The Air Force plans to replace all eight Pratt TF33 turbofans on each of the 76 B-52s scheduled to remain in the bomber fleet through the 2050s. 

The re-engining is needed to keep the B-52H fleet viable after obsolescence and aging issues make the TF33 engines unsustainable after the early 2030s. 

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.