GE Stock Rises As Air Force Kicks Off Contest To Extend This Cold War Icon’s Life

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The U.S. Air Force took a key step toward replacing the engines of its storied but aging Boeing (BA) B-52 bomber jets, inviting bids from suppliers General Electric (GE), Raytheon Technologies (RTX) and Rolls-Royce. GE stock and Raytheon stock both rose.

The request for proposals (RFP) released Tuesday seeks to re-engine the entire 76-aircraft B-52 fleet from 2021 to 2035, according to Aviation Week.

GE Aviation, Raytheon’s Pratt & Whitney or Rolls-Royce are vying to supply 608 engines to replace each of the eight P&W TF33 turbofan engines on the Cold War-era bomber. The B-52 engine contract could be worth $5 billion-$7 billion.

Incumbent Pratt & Whitney plans to offer the PW800. GE may offer the CF34 or Passport engine or both, while the U.K.’s Rolls-Royce will offer a military version of the BR.725.

The B-52 re-engine proposals are due July 22. Besides 608 new engines, the contract includes spare engines and related support.

The current P&W TF33 engines on the B-52 cannot be sustained beyond 2030, according to the Air Force. The B-52 itself is expected to continue operating beyond 2050.

Shares of General Electric rose 3.2% to 6.41 on the stock market today. GE stock is testing the 50-day and has a lagging relative strength line, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. Raytheon stock gained 1.3% to 58.76, retaking its 50-day line.

Both GE and Raytheon Technologies say their military aviation businesses remain strong. But the commercial side has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain’s Rolls-Royce said Wednesday it’s cutting 9,000 jobs from its global staff of 52,000, as the pandemic takes a toll on airlines. CEO Warren East expects air travel not to recover for three to five years.

Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes similarly expects a commercial aviation recovery to take three years, and has imposed furloughs and pay cuts. GE has slashed 25% of its aviation jobs worldwide.

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