New B-2 radar system field installations completed
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. Engineers at Northrop Grumman Corp. have completed all the field installations of a new radar system from Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems in El Segundo, Calif., for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of B-2 stealth bombers. The radar -- produced for the Air Force's B-2 Radar Modernization Program (RMP) -- has an Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna, a power supply, and an upgraded receiver/exciter.
Each operational B-2 now has the new radar, which leverages technology developments that have occurred since the aircraft was originally designed in the early 1980s. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2. The 509th Bomb Wing operates the fleet of 20 B-2s from its headquarters at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
Every RMP hardware installation at Whiteman was completed ahead of time – an average of three days early, says Ron Naylor, Northrop Grumman director of B-2 modernization and transformation. The Whiteman RMP installs occurred in two blocks -- five during 2009 as part of the RMP program's system development and demonstration phase. Another 10 were Finished between in the fall of 2010 and beginning of 2012.
"We worked actively with the Air Force to identify and purchase long-lead items that were part of our critical production path,” says Chad Hartmann, Northrop Grumman B-2 production program manager. “That approach helped us ensure a seamless production process.”
Northrop Grumman also utilized a advanced procurement process with RMP dubbed a Life of Type buy. Under this concept, company officials worked out agreements with the government and RMP suppliers to purchase all the spare parts necessary for the anticipated operational life of the system – to avoid future parts obsolescence problems.