Northrop Grumman has revealed new information about its work with the US Air Force to enhance the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet.
The work includes efforts to provide the aircraft with long-range missile capability, with the prime confirming on Thursday (25 August) that the B-2 successfully launched a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) during a flight test in December.
The JASSM-ER is expected to enable the aircraft to “hit any target, anywhere”, with the integration of the missile enabling the delivery of a low observable asset capable of travelling greater distances than its predecessor.
JASSM-ER is among three new advanced capabilities being introduced to the B-2 to further modernise the platform, which is capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance.
The platform is also integrating crypto modernisation and a Radar Aided Targeting System (RATS), which form part of an integrated functional capability (IFC) P6.4, certified last year.
The RATS, which is expected to complete the latest phase of nuclear modernisation of the B-2 Spirit, allows the B-2 to fully employ the B-61 mod 12 nuclear bomb.
The advanced radar is billed as the key element of the nuclear modernisation, given GPS capability may not be available during a bomber task force mission.
Meanwhile, crypto modernisation aims to improve the communications security of various high frequency transmissions, enabling the bomber to securely leverage advanced communication devices in the future threat environment.
Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman conducted a successful communications flight test leveraging modern cryptology.
“The unrivalled capabilities of the B-2 make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the US arsenal,” Shaugnessy Reynolds, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman, said.
“Committed to continued modernisation of the B-2, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready.”