B-52 Stratofortress Re-Engine - 1996
An unsolicited proposal for reengining 94 aircraft in the B-52 fleet was submitted to the Air Force by Boeing North American, Inc. in June 1996. Boeing proposed modernizing the B-52 fleet by replacing the current TF-33 engines with a commercial engine through a long-term leasing agreement, and providing fixed-cost, privatized maintenance based on the number of hours flown each year. Boeing's proposal included modernizing the B-52 fleet by replacing the TF-33 engines with the Allison/Rolls commercial RB-211 engine through a long-term leasing agreement and providing a fixed-cost, privatized maintenance concept through a "power-by-the-hour" arrangement. Boeing initially projected reengining cost savings of about $6 billion, but later revised the projected savings to $4.7 billion to reengine 71 B-52s. An Air Force team formed to study Boeing's proposal analyzed the lease and purchase alternatives and concluded that both options are cost prohibitive compared to maintaining the existing TF-33 engines. The General Accounting Office estimated that Boeing's unsolicited proposal to reengine the B-52 fleet would cost the Air Force approximately $1.3 billion rather than save approximately $4.7 billion as Boeing projected.
This proposal would allow the Air Force to lease engines, providing a low cost means of modernizing the Air Combat Command (ACC) B-52H weapon system. Installation of the proposed engines and APU would result in significant maintenance reductions for the engines while providing on-board ground power for general aircraft maintenance. The reduced fuel consumption of the modern engine would extend the un-refueled operational range of the aircraft. This proposal would also result in reduced "foot print" requirements when ACC deploys the weapon system by reducing the requirements for Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) electrical power carts and start cart equipment. The proposed support structure provides for all "below the wing support" of the engine through Contractor Logistics Support (CLS), around the clock & around the world. The proposal also provided for contractor owned and maintained pre-positioned spares at ACC B-52H operating locations as well as on site Contractor Field Service Representatives (CFSRs). The depot engine maintenance would be performed by the FAA compliant American Airlines service facility that currently maintains that airline's fleet.
The Boeing Company proposed using a private sector financing model that avoids the need for large, up- front appropriations. The Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) concept uses private capital to execute the program, and links a payment schedule to operations and maintenance savings over the remaining life of the B-52H. This is not a new concept. ESPCs have been used successfully to fund facility upgrades for some years. In the case of re-engining, the funds would be paid back from reduced fuel and maintenance costs and reduced requirements for tanker aircraft.
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