Northrop Grumman has started production of Increment 1 of the extremely high frequency (EHF) satellite communication upgrade for the US Air Force's B-2 Spirit stealth bomber-also built by the company.
The USAF awarded a low rate initial production contract to Northrop on 28 September worth $108 million to build the initial upgrade. Increment 1 includes an integrated processing unit, a new high-capacity disk drive, and a network of fiber optic cable, which should allow the aircraft to perform advanced communications and weapons delivery missions in the future.
"Every current and future upgrade program for the jet will benefit from the quantum leap in processing power and data handling capacity provided by this new hardware and software," says Ron Naylor, Northrop's director of B-2 modernization.
The EHF Increment 1 hardware and software completed operational testing in late July. Northrop says it is beginning to install the new subsystems in a limited number of aircraft as part of the current EHF Increment 1 system development and demonstration contract.