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B-52H undergoes first electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at Tinker

A B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana underwent electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at Tinker's Compass Rose Testing Facility earlier this year.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

A B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana underwent electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at Tinker's Compass Rose Testing Facility earlier this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Fiber optic cables performing the low-level continuous wave testing are affixed to hundreds of strategic points throughout a 2nd Bomb Wing B-52H Stratofortress. The cables travel from the wing tips through the fuselage, allowing data of pulse absorption at those points to be sent for analysis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Fiber optic cables performing the low-level continuous wave testing are affixed to hundreds of strategic points throughout a 2nd Bomb Wing B-52H Stratofortress. The cables travel from the wing tips through the fuselage, allowing data of pulse absorption at those points to be sent for analysis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

John Semands, an electronics engineer with the 76th Software Engineering Group, explains the functionality of fiber optic transmitters within the data acquisition system to visitors from the Senior EMP Working Group during a tour of the Compass Rose Testing Facility Jan. 22. The facility was running hardness maintenance/hardness surveillance electromagnetic pulse testing on a B-52H Stratofortress from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

John Semands, an electronics engineer with the 76th Software Engineering Group, explains the functionality of fiber optic transmitters within the data acquisition system to visitors from the Senior EMP Working Group during a tour of the Compass Rose Testing Facility Jan. 22. The facility was running hardness maintenance/hardness surveillance electromagnetic pulse testing on a B-52H Stratofortress from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Staff Sgt. Derrick Ewing, a maintainer with the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, disconnects breaker boxes on a B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana on Jan. 27.  The aircraft is undergoing electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at the Compass Rose facility here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ron Mullan)

Staff Sgt. Derrick Ewing, a maintainer with the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, disconnects breaker boxes on a B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana on Jan. 27. The aircraft is undergoing electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at the Compass Rose facility here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ron Mullan)

From left, Airman 1st Class Dominik Sticha, Staff Sgt. Derrick Ewing and Staff Sgt. Dylan Tuckett, maintainers with the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, close a nose radome on a B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, on Jan. 27.   The aircraft is undergoing electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at the Compass Rose facility here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ron Mullan)

From left, Airman 1st Class Dominik Sticha, Staff Sgt. Derrick Ewing and Staff Sgt. Dylan Tuckett, maintainers with the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, close a nose radome on a B-52H Stratofortress bomber from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, on Jan. 27. The aircraft is undergoing electromagnetic pulse hardness testing at the Compass Rose facility here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ron Mullan)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Electromagnetic pulse testing of the B-52H at Tinker Air Force Base is part of the United States Air Force’s efforts to safeguard aircraft from potential attacks.

Conducted at Tinker’s Compass Rose Test Facility, the electromagnetic tests represent a major milestone for the program.

According to Maj. Avery Snyder, Electromagnetic Pulse Program lead, increasing threats from around the world make these type tests necessary in the interest of national security.

“We applaud the B-52H program office and other supporting organizations for making this vital test possible,” he said.

The Air Force EMP Program conducts oversight through Air Force Global Strike Command and execution through the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, while working with other commands and various system program offices.

With an increased emphasis through Executive Order, National Security Strategy, National Defense Authorization Act and other national level guidance on the possible threat of potential adversaries to take further interest in EMP technology, as well as natural threats like geomagnetic storms, the program has taken steps to advance EMP testing to identify and address those potential risks in advance.

The test utilizes an antenna device that sends electromagnetic energy through the aircraft.

“What we’re verifying is how the aircraft reacts in response to an electromagnetic pulse,” said Jiby Varughese, section chief with the 555th Software Engineering Squadron. “What happens to the aircraft, how does it perform, is there any damage to the electrical components? That’s what we’re testing here.”

The team measures the reaction at hundreds of different test points on the aircraft to determine energy absorption locations and levels at key test points.

While the tests currently require extensive external support, Varughese said AFGSC and the AFNWC are investing millions of dollars into upgrades at Tinker AFB to provide the capability for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex to perform these tests at a dedicated facility.