The nation’s fleet of B-2 spirit stealth bombers will all get a new Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed radar system following the U.S. Air Force’s decision to authorize full-rate production of the units by the company’s Radar Modernization Program (RMP).
The decision, made last Oct. 16 by the assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (acting), allows Northrop Grumman to begin fabrication of the balance of radar units needed to outfit the entire fleet. Those units will be produced as the final installment of the $468 million RMP contract awarded to the company by the Air Force in Dec. 2008.
Northrop Grumman is the Air Force’s prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation’s long range arsenal, and one of the most survivable aircraft in the world. Northrop Grumman is currently producing radar units authorized under the RMP low rate initial production program, added Mazur. The company is also installing radar units in operational B-2s as part of the RMP system development and demonstration phase.
The B-2 radar modernization program replaces the aircraft’s original radar system with one that incorporates technology improvements that have occurred since the B-2 was originally designed in the early 1980s.
The B-2 is the only U.S. aircraft that combines stealth, long range, large payload and precision weapons in a single platform. In concert with the Air Force’s air superiorityfleet, which provides airspace control, and the Air Force’s tanker fleet , which enables global mobility, the B-2 helps ensure an effective U.S. response to threats anywhere in the world. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours.
The 20-aircraft fleet of B-2s is operated by the 509th Bomb Wing from its headquarters at Whiteman AFB, Mo.