The Air Force intends to upgrade the defensive systems on its B-2 stealth bombers to increase their survivability and supportability, announced Air Force Global Strike Command officials. The Defensive Management System Modernization program will update the bombers’ electronic support measures suite, passive antennas, and display processors, according to the command’s release. The contract award is slated for mid-2014, said William Keen, B-2 deputy program element monitor. The new antennas are designed to increase the frequency coverage, enabling greater threat detection and identification capabilities, said Keen. The upgrade includes new avionics graphics processors that will give B-2 aircrews a visual display of the information that the antennas provide, states the release. The displays will “cue the pilots to react to threats,” said MSgt. Domnick Janitell, B-2 command avionics manager. DMS-M will also address sustainability issues as some B-2 spare parts stocks are expended and other components are obsolete. “We need more spare parts and we need better repair capabilities,” said Keen in the July 22 release. (Barksdale report by A1C Joseph Raatz)
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.