Is it possible to power the B-52 Bomber with 4 bypass turbofan engines instead of the eight in its current configuration? They would have less noise and be a lot more fuel efficient.
A four-engine configuration has been proposed at least two times but would require expensive modifications to the wings.
A 2017 Flight global report, Rolls Royce offers BR725 for B-52 re-engine effort, said
So far, the USAF has foregone plans to reconfigure the B-52s with four engines, which would have required expensive modifications to the wings, R-R says. R-R previously considered a higher thrust variant of the RB211 turbofan engine as a four-engine option on the B-52, but the service does not appear to be moving in that direction, according to R-R.
A 2014 Aviation Week report, B-52 Re-engine Resurfaces As USAF Reviews Studies, said
Pratt & Whitney studied the idea in 1982, with four PW2000-series engines. In 1996 Boeing and Rolls-Royce jointly proposed to fit B-52s with four RB211-535s, with the government leasing the engines. The first plan was not taken up because all B-52s were to be replaced by B-1s and B-2s by the late 1990s, and the second failed because of resistance to leasing combat assets and a flawed economic assessment by the Air Force.