Spiffing Up the Already Spiffy B-2

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon say they expect in April to begin full-up flight tests of the B-2 stealth bomber with its new active electronically scanned array radar. Company reps at the AFA Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo provided a briefing on the program, saying it would exponentially improve the targeting ability of the aircraft. The work, they said, is proceeding in well-orchestrated steps, with baseline flight testing in progress at Edwards AFB, Calif. The radar program already cleared USAF’s final design review, in which it passed a battery of tests that prove the hardware and software work on one subsystem. The radar work is part of a $382 million system development and demonstration contract awarded by the Air Force in 2004.