Air Force Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson is in town for a Global Strike Command Technology and Innovation Symposium. Dr. Wilson tells KEEL News she spent some time at the base observing several operations.


We asked Dr. Wilson about the future of the B-52 fleet and Barksdale Air Force Base in general. She tells KEEL News the "bomber mission is a core mission for the United States Air Force particularly the ability to support the nuclear deterrent. We are building the next generation of bombers which is the B-21 which is on track. But it won't be just the B-21 we need. We will also need a variety of bombers. So we figure it's gonna be a minimum of a hundred B-21 radar aircraft with a mix of legacy bombers so we'll have a total bomber force of probably 175 minimum."

The B-52's are being modernized to increase the electronics, communications technology, computing and avionics. Eight B-52s have already received a communications (coms systems) upgrade called Combat Network Communication Technology, or CONECT – a radio, electronics and data-link upgrade which, among other things, allows aircraft crews to transfer mission and targeting data directly to aircraft systems while in flight (machine to machine), Single explained.

Much of this will probably be discussed during the Symposium which was kicked off by 4-Star General Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command commander.