Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed an upgrade of the U.S. Air Force's
B-2 stealth bomber that allows the aircraft to deliver five times its previous
capacity of independently targeted, smart (GPS-guided) weapons.
The company delivered the 54th and final smart bomb rack assembly (SBRA) earlier
this month to the Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base,
Missouri, home of the B-2 fleet. A SBRA-equipped stealth bomber can deliver 80
500-pound smart weapons, each targeted against a different aimpoint.
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 provided by the F-22 Raptor
and global mobility provided by tanker aircraft, the B-2 ensures an effective
U.S. response to threats anywhere in the world.
The SBRA upgrade program enhances the B-2's ability to respond to current and
emerging worldwide threats as a key element of the military's network-centric
Northrop Grumman was awarded a $131 million Air Force contract in 2001 to
develop the SBRA system, including substantial modifications to hardware and
software on the B-2. In 2003, Northrop Grumman was awarded another contract to
begin conversion of 45 existing B-2 bomb rack assemblies to the new
configuration (in addition to nine that were converted during the development
phase of the program). The total value of the production work was $31.7 million.
All bomb rack conversions were delivered to the Air Force on or ahead of
Northrop Grumman was responsible for development, validation and production of
the SBRA system and integration of the GBU-38 (JDAM-82) 500-pound smart weapon
on the B-2. The JDAM is produced by The Boeing Company, which also designed and
fabricated the B-2 SBRA hardware kits for the SBRA conversion under a
subcontract to Northrop Grumman.
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