B-2 Stealth Bomber to Get AESA Radar Antenna


Released on Thursday, September 9, 2004
United States of America
B-2A Spirit
AESA - Active Electronically Scanned Array
The US Air Force awarded Northrop-Grumman Corporation a $388 million contract for the next phase of the program to modernize the B-2 radar system. Northrop-Grumman is the leading contractor for the B-2 modernization effort.

This phase will focus on replacing the current radar antenna by a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna, which will benefit the B-2 overall performance and resolve radio frequency conflicts with commercial systems. Raytheon, the original supplier of current B-2 radar system, will be responsible for developing the new AESA antenna. Northrop-Grumman will undergo integration and testing work on B-2 aircraft using six new radar systems for initial demonstration and operational training.

Raytheon forecasts $600 million in future revenues related to B-2 AESA antenna including development and production work that will be performed in el Segundo, California, and Dallas, Texas. The new antenna, consisting of more than 2,000 transmitter/receiver modules, is expected to improve the radar performance and operational stealthiness.

According to Northrop-Grumman, the AESA antenna will require a low rate and full rate production with the installation work into the B-2 fleet taking several years to complete. In addition, Northrop will have to modify the B-2 defensive management system and the radar transponder to support the change in operating frequency.

The B-2 radar modernization program worth more than $900 million started in 2002 and would be completed in 2011. Northrop-Grumman also undergoing the B-2 new coating for improved readiness program and the new bomb rack assembly that enables B-2 to carry and deliver as many as 80 GPS-guided bombs. The current B-2 bomb rack assembly enables to carry as many as 16 guided munitions.

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