Northrop Grumman Begins Flight Testing of Upgrades To B-2 Stealth Bomber

Falls Church, Virginia, UNITED STATES


PALMDALE, Calif., Sept. 12, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) has begun a flight test program to evaluate a series of upgrades for the B-2 stealth bomber that will improve the operational capability of the U.S. Air Force fleet.

"These upgrades are part of Northrop Grumman's continuing effort to help reduce the Air Force's long-term ownership and support costs for the B-2," said Paul Marchisotto, vice president and B-2 program manager-Air Combat Systems, a business area of Northrop Grumman ISS.

The upgrades, which will be evaluated over the next several years during two separate flight test periods, will improve the B-2's maintainability, communications and weapons capability A B-2 arrived Aug. 30 at Edwards AFB, Calif., from Northrop Grumman's modification facility in Palmdale to begin the first flight test period.

The first upgrade to be evaluated is the application of magnetic radar-absorbing materials on surface panels, which will improve maintainability by providing technicians more rapid access for scheduled and unscheduled repairs. The new materials will reduce the time necessary to access aircraft systems behind the panels from hours to minutes.

During the second flight test period, these upgrades will be evaluated:

-- Improved satellite links to increase communication speed, security and resistance to enemy jamming, as well as allow an entire mission to be uploaded while the B-2 is en route to a target.

-- Software upgrades to increase situational awareness and reduce crew workload, enhance the capabilities of the radar and navigation systems, and improve aircraft maintainability.

-- Integration of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile using a Northrop Grumman-developed integrated software package, introduced to the fleet this year, that lowers overall cost and cycle time for rapid integration of newer weapons. The software package, called the Generic Weapons Interface System, enables new weapons to be integrated on the B-2 with minimal or no aircraft flight software changes.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector, based in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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