A Problem With New B-2 Radar?:

The House Appropriations Committee in its report on the 2008 defense spending bill has noted “technical maturity problems” with the new active electronically scanned array radar antenna destined for the B-2 bomber. The AESA radar is just one part of a larger modernization program begun on the stealth bomber in 2004, but it has taken on new significance of late because the Air Force must move the B-2 from its current spectrum to a new spectrum. Why? As the committee explains in its report (the radar portion here), the Defense Department doesn’t “own” the current spectrum in which the B-2 operates, and the Commerce Department plans to expand the number of primary users, edging out secondary users like the B-2. To move the B-2 off that spectrum, the Air Force must modify the aircraft’s radar. The service expected the new AESA to take care of that issue, in addition to improving the aircraft’s targeting capability; however, now, it appears the AESA “maturity” problems will overreach the date upon which the service planned to change the B-2 spectrum. That date is classified, and the committee simply noted it as “near-term.”