Air Force Global Strike Command recently demonstrated Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-236 Dragon’s Eye, a podded active electronically scanned array radar, on a B-52 bomber, according to a command release. The radar “enhances the B-52’s ability to operate in both contested environments and adverse weather conditions,” said B-52 Requirements Branch chief Maj. Brett Plummer. “The radar’s high-resolution mapping enables target detection, tracking, and subsequent engagement in situations where our existing electro-optical targeting pods cannot,” he said. Today, F-15Es operate with Dragon’s Eye. AFGSC conducted the demo with a B-52 assigned to Air Force Reserve Command’s 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La. Pacific Air Forces is interested in this capability and intends to exercise the B-52 with it during September’s Valiant Shield exercise, states the June 26 release. “This Dragon’s Eye effort demonstrates AFGSC’s ability to continue to increase B-52 lethality during lean fiscal times and present capable forces to our combatant commanders,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, AFGSC commander. (Barksdale report by A1C Jannelle Dickey)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.