Northrop Grumman completed field installations of the upgraded radar system for the Air Force’s fleet of B-2 stealth bombers, announced the company on Sept. 24. “Every operational B-2 is now equipped with the new radar” as part of the B-2 Radar Modernization Program, states the company’s release. The Air Force operates a fleet of 20 B-2s, including one normally used for testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. The others are stationed with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo. Raytheon supplied prime contractor Northrop Grumman with the new radar hardware, which included active electronically scanned array antennas, a power supply, and a modified receiver/exciter. These components upgraded the aircraft’s 1980s-vintage AN/APQ-181 multimode radar. The update improves the radar’s maintainability and lays the foundation for future potential capability enhancements. Ron Naylor, Northrop Grumman’s director of B-2 modernization and transformation, said the company finished installations at Whiteman “ahead of schedule,” returning the jets “anywhere from one to 11 days early.” (See also Whiteman Gets First Upgraded B-2.)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."