B-2 modernisation reaches next stage
Northrop Grumman and the USAF have announced the continuation of enhancement and modernisation of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet, with the new capabilities including long-range stealth missiles.
The B-2 successfully released a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) last December, Northrop Grumman revealed in a 25 August statement.
Other newly introduced capabilities to the aircraft are integrated crypto modernisation and a radar-aided targeting system (RATS). The former further improves the communication security of various HF transmissions.
RATS is an integral part of the B-2 nuclear modernisation as it will allow the aircraft to fully employ the B61 Mod 12 nuclear bomb in GPS-denied environments.
Modernisation efforts on the Spirit began in 2007 to ensure it remains fully capable against evolving threats.
The most recent system advancements are part of integrated functional capability P6.4, which the USAF certified last year.
According to Shephard Defence Insight, he USAF plans to retire the B-2 no later than 2032 due to operational and maintenance costs.
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