Boeing said Thursday its B-52H upgraded with new communication technology completed its first test flight at Edwards Air Force Base on Jan. 17. The Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) upgrade allows B-52H crews to receive and send real-time digital information during their missions, according to Boeing. The three-hour test flight included an initial system build-up test, interphone test and communication test, and included power-on of each system in flight to determine that there were no adverse effects on flight-essential systems.
"Completion of the first test flight brings us one step closer to giving command centers and troops on the ground the ability to communicate with the B-52 through the military's digital information network," said Jim Kroening, Boeing B-52 Development Programs manager. "Augmenting current voice-based communication gives B-52 crews greater situational awareness and significantly enhanced mission capabilities."
Boeing said Ground and flight test will continue through February. The aircraft will then rotate through its planned depot maintenance at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and resume ground and flight test in January 2011 at Edwards.