The US Air Force uses the B-52H Stratofortress nuclear bomber to test hypersonic weapons. Boeing proposes to transfer tests to the B-1B Lancer supersonic aircraft.
What is known
Boeing has developed a pylon called Load Adaptable Modular (LAM). It has a one and a half times increased payload capacity. The company used its own funds to create it, but budget money is attracted for testing. Pylon tests are still ongoing. The LAM will not be compatible with either the B-52H or the F-15EX Eagle II, which will also carry hypersonic missiles.
The US Air Force is armed with 76 B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers. Eight aircraft are used for engine, radar and armament testing. For the foreseeable future, 10-12 more bombers will remain under repair, in storage or undergoing modernization.
Thus, only 56-58 aircraft will be at the disposal of the US Air Force. This is a problem for the service because The B-52H is on a nuclear deterrence mission. But the B-1B Lancer has not been a carrier of nuclear weapons for a long time, so it can be used for testing instead of the B-52H.
The desire to transfer tests of hypersonic missiles to the B-1B was announced by Jennifer Wong, director of the bomber program at Boeing. She spoke to reporters at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Jennifer Wong said the company has built four pylons and will soon sign a contract to build more. The Air Force is using additional congressional funding for hypersonics to test and possibly buy more LAMs. The official announcement of the program is expected soon.
Source: Air & Space Forces Magazine