News Search

Newest bomber technology makes history

Newest bomber technology makes history

Master Sgt. Benjamin Fay, 9th Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy loadmaster, marshals in a Conventional Rotary Launcher for shipment from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. This is the first rotary launcher of its kind because it allows the B-52 Stratofortress to carry a mixed load of smart weapons or GPS guided weapons. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

New bomber technology makes history

Armament systems Airmen walk towards a C-5M Supergalaxy, prior to load conventional rotary launchers for transport at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The CRLs were sent out on a C-5M in order to expedite its delivery. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

Newest bomber technology makes history

Tech. Sgt. Jason Jeans, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, waits during the loading process of some Conventional Rotary Launchers out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The idea for the CRLs has been around since 1990. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

New bomber technology makes history

A conventional rotary launcher, is loaded onto a C-5M Supergalaxy at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. Barksdale often tests new equipment since the base houses both Air Force Global Strike Command headquarters as well as 8 th Air Force headquarters. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

Newest bomber technology makes history

Master Sgt. John Crowe, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, marshals in a Conventional Rotary Launcher for shipment from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The B-52 Stratofortresses were in the middle of a deployment which prevented installation and caused the CRLs to be shipped as cargo to their first combat area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

New bomber technology makes history

Airman 1st Class Jourdain Keep, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron air transportation apprentice, tightens a chain to secure a conventional rotary launcher for transport at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 3, 2017. The CRL was deployed to combat to replace the old rotary launchers in order to innovate warfighting capabilities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

Newest bomber technology makes history

Airman 1st Class Christian Carbonel and Senior Airman Alex Ward, 2nd Munitions Squadron aircraft armament systems technicians, push a Conventional Rotary Launcher onto a C-5M Super Galaxy to be shipped out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The creation of these CRLs will increase the B-52 Stratofortress' smart weapon carrying capabilities by 67 percent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

New bomber technology makes history

Airmen assigned to the 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron air transportation flight load a conventional rotary launcher onto a Halverson K-loader at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 3, 2017. The CRL was later loaded onto a C-5M Supergalaxy for deployment. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

Newest bomber technology makes history

Tech. Sgt. Jason Jeans, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, helps guide a Conventional Rotary Launcher into a C-5M Super Galaxy to be shipped out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The CRLs were being shipped out to be used in their first ever combat area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

New bomber technology makes history
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 11

Loadmasters haul a conventional rotary launcher onto a C-5M Supergalaxy at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The CRL has been an idea since the 1990s, and finally came to life in 2017, being sent to combat for military use in fall of 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

New bomber technology makes history
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 11

Tech Sgt. Jesse Bonzelet, 9th airlift squadron loadmaster, takes a break from loading conventional rotary launchers onto a C-5M Supergalaxy at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2017. The CRL is a new weapons delivery device that allows multiple types of weaponry to be loaded on one aircraft at a time, whereas before, an aircraft could only carry and release one type of bomb or missile. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- History was made Nov. 6, 2017, when the first Conventional Rotary Launchers (CRL) were flown out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La. on a C-5M Super Galaxy to be used in their first ever combat area of responsibility.


These launchers are improved munitions equipment that allows B-52 Stratofortresses to carry a selection of different conventional smart weapons or GPS guided weapons.

"It’s a big game changer for current and future warfare," said Master Sgt. Adam Levandowski, Air Forces Strategic (AFSTRAT) Armament Systems manager who has been involved in multiple portions of the CRL program.

 "When you take a B-52 and load it with mixed smart weapons you now open up many more options with one aircraft instead of having to call in other aircraft for other types of munitions. Now, combatant commanders are presented with a much more flexible weapons selection without the need to request additional air support."

Although rotary launchers are used on current air frames, this is the first rotary launcher of its kind. The new CRLs will increase the B-52’s carrying capacity of smart weapons.

"Before these launchers, the B-52 was not capable of carrying smart weapons internally," said Levandowski. “Now each CRL allows for internal carriage which adds an additional eight smart bombs per aircraft."

The creation of these CRLs will increase the B-52’s smart weapon carrying capabilities by 67 percent.

"This has modernized the B-52 to be more up to speed with other air frames," said Master Sgt. Thomas Hall, 2nd Munitions Squadron Armament Systems flight section chief who oversaw this whole project.

The idea of a CRL has existed since 1990; however, the program recently began development.

"Within the last two years we have basically went from having an idea to seeing them in that C-5 to go into a combat zone to be utilized," said Senior Master Sgt. Donavan Stinson, a leader in the CRL project and 2nd MUNS Armament Systems flight chief.

Every aspect - from demonstrating use to maintenance capabilities - was taken on by Barksdale’s Armament Flight.

"Boeing brought us the basic idea and we were tasked to complete it. We performed function checks and added it into our systems and distributed it," Stinson said. "We are basically a manufacturer and distribution point for the rest of the B-52 world for these CRLs."

Preparation for these launchers involved more than just development. Upgrades to current equipment and training were needed as well.

"We had to modernize our current equipment to be able to work with this new equipment," Stinson said.

After the upgrades, training was needed for Barksdale and Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, who will also be using the CRLs.

"Everyone had to be trained on how to utilize this new technology," Stinson said. “Last year we were able to give Minot a CRL to work with as we worked with our own. Even though there are still certain situations that we have not experienced yet that we’ll need to be trained on down the road, for the most part we are ready to go."

Modernizing and improving the capabilities of the B-52s through the newest piece of equipment broadens the Air Force Global Strike Command mission of providing strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support.