Northrop Grumman expects to enter production in 2010 with its Banshee electronic warfare architecture for the B-52 bomber, following successful flight demonstrations concluded in June, Kevin Weppner, Northrop’s director of business development for RF combat and information systems, told reporters Sept. 14 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. “EW systems today need to be flexible, highly integrated and interoperable with other systems such as Link 16 and other sensors,” noted Weppner. He said the Banshee is lightweight, mission scalable, uses common, reusable components, and features low cost, high-performance microwave converters and digital receivers. “Because the B-52s are going to be in service for a long time, we think we’ll update and modernize every one of those 76 bombers.” Weppner said. Northrop expects the architecture to eventually be extended to other legacy aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, and A-10.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.