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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

B-2 To Receive New Satcom System

Northrop Grumman started work on a 62-month, $171 million system development and demonstration contract for a new extremely high frequency (EHF) satellite communications system for the U.S. Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber.
Under a planned, three-increment upgrade program, the new EHF system eventually will allow the B-2 to send and receive battlefield information up to 100 times faster than its current ultra-high frequency (UHF) satellite communications system.

"This SDD contract provides significant momentum for the work Northrop Grumman and its subcontractors are doing to increase the B-2's fighting effectiveness in the face of technological advances by our enemies," said Dave Mazur, vice president with Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. "It will help ensure that the aircraft remains a well-integrated, high-value node in the Air Force's long-range strike structure."

During Increment I, Northrop Grumman’s industry team will replace the B-2's current flight management computers with a single, integrated processing unit developed by Lockheed Martin Systems Integration. The contract also will involve development of the fiber optic network supporting high-speed data transfers to, from and within the aircraft; and delivery of a disk drive unit from Honeywell Defense and Space to facilitate future transfer of EHF data on and off the B-2.

Increment II of the program will give the aircraft the ability to send and receive information at EHF frequencies. Increment III will fully integrate the new EHF communications capabilities into the aircraft's controls and displays.
The EHF satcom system also will allow the B-2 to connect to the U.S. Department of Defense's Global Information Grid.
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