USAF taps Rolls-Royce to build new engines for classic B-52 bomber

The United States Air Force has awarded Rolls-Royce North America with the coveted Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP) contract to build the replacement engines for the B-52 bombers. Rolls-Royce beat out competitors like Pratt & Whitney and General Electric, scoring a $2.6 billion contract to build more than 600 engines for the classic aircraft.

Under the CERP contract, Rolls-Royce will provide the powerplant for upgrading the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft's engines. The company's F-130 engine will power the USAF's B-52 bombers for the next three decades, according to Rolls-Royce, which says the engine variant that'll be used is already powering the E-11 BACN and C-37 aircraft.

Rolls-Royce explains that its F-130 engine will offer an increased range with improved fuel efficiency compared to the current engines; it'll also have lower maintenance needs. The engines for the B-52 bombers will be built at the company's Indianapolis facility. A total of 650 F-130 engines for the aircraft will be built.

The company has had a long relationship with the United States Air Force, providing the military with thousands of engines used in a variety of aircraft, including the C-130H and CV-22 Osprey and Global Hawk. The F-130 engine will, the company says, be able to power the B-52 over its entire lifespan.

Rolls-Royce Defense SVP of Strategic Campaigns Craig McVay said:

This is a major win for Rolls-Royce. We've been planning and preparing for this outcome and are ready to hit the ground running to prove that we are the best choice for the Air Force and the B-52. Our employees stand prepared to deliver once again for the men and women who protect our freedoms every day.