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B-52 fleet benefits from radar test

by 1st Lt. Brooke Davis
Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs

3/18/2005 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- Testers here discovered a problem with the B-52 Stratofortress' radar transmitter system that affected the entire fleet of bombers. By flying four sorties recently, they determined that the anomalies were both acceptable for current operations and could be improved.

During the fourth operational test and evaluation sortie, testers released nine inert MK-82 bombs in nine separate runs on a range here to test the effects of the anomalies on the radar crosshairs.

"The radar-navigator operates a navigational targeting system that puts the crosshairs over specific target coordinates and over a specific radar return," said Maj. Merrice Spencer, a 419th Flight Test Squadron B-52 test navigator and instructor. "The crosshairs were not falling on the target like they should. This problem affected the (avionics midlife improvement) upgrades, along with the entire B-52 fleet."

Although the crosshair anomalies will not be fixed until the next software upgrade is developed, testers here were able to verify that the anomalies were within current operationally acceptable margins of error. However, the B-52 operational capability could be improved by fixing the problem, Major Spencer said.

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