The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on December 18 that it has contracted Boeing to provide engineering services for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) B-1B Lancer and B-52H Stratofortress bomber fleets.
As part of the US$400m contract modification, Boeing will provide recurring and non-recurring engineering services for the B-1B and B-52H. The contract is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022, with work taking place at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma; Edwards AFB, California; Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The USAF has operated the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic heavy bombers since 1961 and 1985, respectively. AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of December 27, 2020, the service maintains a fleet of 76 B-52Hs and 62 supersonic-capable B-1Bs. In 2021, 17 of the USAF’s oldest Lancers will be withdrawn from operational service, as per the US President’s Budget Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The subsonic B-52 is slated to remain in service until 2050.