by Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
9/17/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air
Force Global Strike Command has begun the conversion of a portion of
the B-52H bomber fleet from a nuclear to a conventional only capability
aircraft under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).
The conversion of the first of 30 operational aircraft from across the
command was completed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, this
summer with the Air Force Reserve Command 307th Bomb Wing's aircraft
61-1021. The conversion process preserves the full conventional
capabilities of the B-52.
The 307th Bomb Wing Commander, Col. Bruce Cox said, "We were honored to
accept the challenge of modifying the first of 30 B-52Hs in compliance
with this historic treaty. Leveraging the unrivaled experience of the
307th Bomb Wing Citizen-Airmen maintainers, we quickly bridged the gap
between engineering design and operational execution. I am very proud of
the professionals of the 307th Bomb Wing Team."
The Air Force will also convert 12 non-operational B-52H aircraft
currently maintained in storage at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and
Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona. The Air Force is scheduled to
complete all conversions by early 2017.
Under New START, the U.S. and Russian Federation are required to have no
more than 1,550 deployed warheads; 800 deployed and non-deployed
intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, submarine-launched
ballistic missile launchers and nuclear capable heavy bombers; and 700
deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and nuclear capable heavy bombers. AFGSC also
began the transition of 50 Minuteman III launch facilities across the
command to an operational non-deployed status in May 2015.
The Department of Defense announced its force structure in April 2014 to
comply with New START requirements. The treaty-compliant force
structure allows the U.S. Air Force to continue providing the nation
with safe, secure and effective deterrent forces.