Northrop Grumman, working closely with Raytheon, has begun flight-testing a new radar antenna on the B-2 stealth bomber that, combined with other upgrades, will enhance the aircraft’s ability to respond to emerging worldwide threats. Testing of the active, electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna on the B-2 represents a milestone for this radar modernization program because it allows engineers to determine, for the first time, how the radar performs under actual conditions. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the B-2, which remains the only long-range, large-payload aircraft that can penetrate deep into protected airspace. Combined with superior airspace control to be provided by the F-22 raptor and global mobility provided by tanker aircraft, the B-2 will ensure an effective US response to threats anywhere in the world. “The radar modernization program is one improvement the Air Force and Northrop Grumman are working on to enhance the B-2’s capabilities,” said Dave Mazur, vice president of Long Range Strike and B-2 program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector. “The B-2’s combination of long range, large payload and survivability makes it a unique strike asset and the upgrades will ensure the aircraft remains just as effective in the future.”
“Raytheon’s B-2 AESA radar system is performing well so far during the flight test phase,” said Erv Grau, vice president for the Air Combat Avionics Group of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “Integrating our advanced technology onto the platform is critical to ensure the B-2 is not only equipped to deal effectively with a variety of future threats but also has the capability to act as a critical node on the network as the battlespace continues to evolve.” The B-2 radar work is part of a $382 M system development and demonstration contract awarded by the Air Force in 2004. During this phase, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are developing and testing the radar and will install additional systems on operational B-2 aircraft of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, MO. This phase will be followed by production to field the new radar and install the antenna into the B-2 fleet.