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Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $388 M contract by the US Air Force for the next phase of a program to modernize the B-2 radar system. This program continues the efforts of the Air Force and Northrop Grumman to enhance the stealth bomber’s ability to operate as part of the military’s increasingly integrated force structure. Northrop Grumman’s Integrated System sector, the B-2 prime contractor, is leading the radar modernization effort, which will replace the current radar antenna with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna. Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA, which provided the original B-2 radar, is the principal subcontractor. During the system development and demonstration phase (SDD), Northrop Grumman will develop and test the antenna and integrate six new radar systems on B-2 for initial demonstration and operational training. The subsequent production and deployment phase will include low rate production and full-rate production to field the upgraded radar. Installation of the new antenna into the B-2 fleet will take several years to complete. The new radar system will resolve conflicts in radio frequency usage between the B-2 and commercial systems and allow future upgrades to improve radar performance. In addition to replacing the antenna, Northrop Grumman will modify the B-2 defensive management system and the radar transponder to support the change in operating frequency. Northrop Grumman’s work on the radar modernization program began in October 2002 with the component advanced development phase. The entire program is estimated to be worth more than $900 M to the company through 2011. Northrop Grumman performs its B-2 work in Palmdale, CA. In addition to Raytheon, subcontractors include Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, NY, for defensive management system modifications, and BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration, Greenlawn, NY, for radar transponder modifications. The radar modernization and other efforts to upgrade the B-2 will improve its ability to communicate and exchange data with joint force commanders, and share updated target information during a mission. Under another program, Northrop Grumman recently delivered the first B-2 with a specially formulated coating developed to improve aircraft readiness.
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