Spirit AeroSystems’ B-52 Legacy Connection and Structures Capability Brings Experience to the Re-Engine Program
The recent opening of the B-52 re-engine project has Spirit AeroSystems celebrating the local legacy of the B-52 in Wichita. From the first flight in April of 1952, Wichita played a major role in the manufacture of the iconic airplane. By the end of its original production run in 1962, over 700 of the planes had been built, the majority of them at the Boeing facility in Wichita.
That kind of history leaves an indelible imprint, not only on practical matters like manufacturing processes, but also on the people who helped to produce all those planes for so many years. It’s no exaggeration to say that Spirit carries a generational legacy of the B-52 program – many of its employees have family that worked directly with the B-52, some of them may even remember the last plane leaving the hangar.
Spirit has extensive experience working with the trio of engine suppliers – Rolls Royce, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney – that will likely compete to provide the new B-52H powerplants. The company’s work on integrated engine structures like struts and pylons for every Boeing airplane currently in production, as well as nacelle/thrust reversers on the 737 and 777 family, demonstrate Spirit’s ability to integrate with any engine selected.
From Boeing to Spirit, engineers and manufacturers in Wichita have continued the same tradition of excellence that made the B-52 program an enduring success, expanding the reach of that heritage into defense products like Boeing’s P-8A and KC-46A Tanker, Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky’s CH-53K, Bell’s V-280 and as a named supplier on the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider program. Spirit has a long history of applying commercial best practices and experience to defense programs. From composites to metals, struts to nacelles, Spirit brings both modern innovation and vast institutional knowledge to every process and product.