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USAF's new B-52H bomber completes first flight test

The B-52H strategic bomber. A USAF Photo

CALIFORNIA (BNS): US Air Force’s new strategic heavy bomber B-52H, fitted with latest communication technology, has successfully completed its first test flight.

The Boeing-made aircraft completed the flight test at the Edwards Air Force Base on January 17, Boeing said.

B-52H, the upgraded version of long-range, strategic heavy bomber B-52 Stratofortress, has been equipped with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT). The new technology allows B-52H crews to receive and send real-time digital information during their missions.

During its flight which lasted for over three-hours, the bomber’s initial system build-up, interphone and communication capabilities were tested. The test process included power-on of each system in flight to determine that there were no adverse effects on flight-essential systems, Boeing said.

“Completion of the first test flight brings us one step closer to giving command centers and troops on the ground the ability to communicate with the B-52 through the military's digital information network,” said Jim Kroening, Boeing B-52 Development Programs manager.

The multi-role, long-range, large-payload B-52H can carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.

Designed to carry out strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations, the bomber is US Air Force’s frontline nuclear and conventional weapons platform that can carry cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions.

Further ground and flight tests for the new bomber will continue throughout February, Boeing said.

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