B-2 modifications on track for 2019 milestone

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The US Air Force reports that its B-2 stealth bomber is progressing toward a Milestone C which will see a new defensive management system (DMS) installed in the aircraft. The modernization program reached Milestone B in March 2016, thus beginning the engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) phase. With a December 2019 target date, the next milestone achievement would lead to full rate production. The B-2 is a multi-role heavy bomber with a 40,000-lb payload.

The Air Force reports it needs to upgrade the DMS for the B-2 to continue to have its “unique combination of range, precision, payload and ability to penetrate and operate in anti-access/area denial environments.” The modernized unit – DMS-M – for the B-2 will identify, locate, target and destroy the highest value enemy targets. The modifications contained in the DMS-M are necessary, says the Air Force, to preserve the strategic advantage of the aircraft against 21st century threats.

Total research and development, test and evaluation funding for the program is US$1.8bn to develop four DMS-M units. One unit comprises a simultaneous replacement of the legacy DMS system on the aircraft. To obtain 16 additional units, the procurement funding is US$832m. The program subcontractors are BAE Systems – receivers; Ball Aerospace and L-3 Randtron – antennas; and Lockheed Martin – display processors.

Written by Michael Jones

February 8, 2017

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