With a recent contract award from Northrop Grumman to provide electronic support measures (ESM) on the B-2 Spirit bomber, BAE Systems will be providing electronic warfare systems on all three U.S. Air Force low-observable platforms, including the F-22 and F-35 fighters, according to the company. The new ESM system will replace the original Lockheed Martin AN/APR-50 defensive management system on the 20 B-2s. The ESM system works in conjunction with the radar warning receiver to detect and alert aircrew to electronic threats.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) previewed a Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission on January 26 that slows procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, terminates the Global Hawk Block 30 and retires some C-5As and C-130s. The $613 billion DoD budget will be submitted to Congress in February with the federal budget.
With concern mounting over Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. and allies in the region are adding bunker-busting bombs designed to penetrate hardened targets from the air. In a television interview on December 19, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noticeably toughened his previous stance.
After the preliminary design review was completed on schedule in April 2003, every subsequent milestone in the F-35 program was missed by at least one year. Yet Lockheed Martin continued to exude optimism, rejecting criticism that production was being ramped up before development and producibility issues were solved.
On Monday three U.S. Air Force nuclear-capable bomber wings joined the new Air Force Global Strike Command, bringing together the USAF’s nuclear strike assets in a single organization for the first time since the dismantling of Strategic Air Command in 1992.
Northrop Grumman delivered the first production LN-120G GPS-aided stellar-inertial navigation system to the U.S. Air Force last month, to begin the update of the service’s 31 RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft.
Brian Kilburn of the Boeing B-2 System Program Office presented insights into the true cost of a stealth operation at the Stealth Conference conducted recently in London by military/defense conference organizer Defence IQ. Kilburn noted that the 20-strong fleet of B-2s requires 70,000 maintenance hours annually, and that 40 low-observable (LO) technicians work on them full-time. The U.S.
Four decades after the first truly stealthy air vehicles were secretly flown in the U.S., the technology has matured and proliferated. Many countries could now design a stealthy, small unmanned aerial vehicle, but since uncompromised stealth capabilities bring penalties, developers and operators are still wrestling with multiple trade-offs.