Northrop Outfits B-2 Bombers with EHF Secure Satcom Gear

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Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif., will begin outfitting the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of B-2 stealth bombers with high-speed processors for data transmitted via extremely high frequency (EHF) secure communications satellites under a contract valued at $108 million, the company said Oct. 11.

The low-rate initial production contract, awarded Sept. 28, will enhance the ability of the long-range bomber aircraft to perform their mission, Northrop Grumman said. The new equipment to be installed includes an integrated processing unit, a high-capacity disk drive and a network of fiber optic cable.

Northrop Grumman is prime contractor for the B-2 Spirit, designed to operate in denied airspace without being detected. Northrop Grumman also is the payload supplier for the Air Force’s Milstar and follow-on Advanced EHF secure satellite communications systems.

“The EHF Increment 1 upgrades provide a smart, cost effective way to enable future combat capability on the B-2,” Ron Naylor, director of B-2 modernization and transformation for Northrop Grumman, said in a prepared statement. “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.”

The Air Force successfully conducted a series of EHF Increment 1 hardware and software operational tests in July, according to the press release.