September 3, 1980: B-52 Tests Offensive Avionics System

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Flight testing of the B-52 Offensive Avionics System (OAS) began at the Boeing facility in Wichita, Kansas. Although the Air Force Flight Test Center was the designated RTO for the program, the OAS program office had designated Wichita as the test site. The new OAS was designed to replace the bomber’s obsolete analog bombing and navigation system with solid-state off-the-shelf digital equipment that was compatible with both the Air Launched Cruise Missile and the Air-to-Ground Munition-69 Short Range Attack Missile.

  • The B-52’s 185-foot wingspan is too wide to take off or land in a crossing using traditional flying techniques.
  • Boeing engineers designed special landing gear that could align with the runway allowing special takeoffs and landings.
  • The original design of the B-52 placed a gunner in the tail of the aircraft. Later designs moved the gunner forward with the rest of the crew.
  • After the Gulf War in the early 1990s, the gunner position and defensive machine guns were eliminated.
  • U.S. Air Force engineering studies suggest that the lifespan of the B-52 could extend beyond 2040.

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