The USAF's B-2 fleet is not getting any younger, equipped with 1980's analog electronics, ancient radar and limited bandwidth comm systems, and to
that end, David Mazur, Northrop Grumman’s VP of LRS initiatives, has proposed upgrades to the B-2 to keep moss from growing on it's north side.
Except that all of the named upgrades have already been individually proven and applied as Block 30 baseline. Either the USAF is doing the "Yeah it
works! Now pay for it all..." developmental show casing and followon zeroed production funding (requiring Congress to save the program in
joint-conference, NorGrumman being 'all about New York'). Or they are rah-rah-mareeca talking about finished work on a slow newsday and the 'real
money' will in fact go to a slush fund for something else. Can't /deny/ funding for something that 'Americans Can All Be Proud Of'. Past
The proposals call for the B-2's older electronics systems to be replaced with an upgraded radar similar to the Raptor's APG-77
Yawn. I remember reading an article from almost 2 years ago about how the APQ-181 was already _just finishing up_ a mod to it's antenna group 'to
prevent an RFI conflict with civillian commo traffic' or some such nonsense.
Indeed, the APG-77 is old hat now, why not the APG-81? Why in fact /X-Band/ if you wish to remain covert? The Ku transmission window is tiny much
beyond 20nm and nobody is gonna hear nothin' if you tweak it down to min power and pencil beam. Is this a defacto admission that Stealth is once
more not as important as standoff? Or has the APQ-181 technology base itself been compromised ala APG-65 so that it's 'singular signature
characteristic' ESM value must be buried amongst a clutter of other-band as much as waveform emulation?
and a comm upgrade to Link 16 which will enable the B-2s to share data with other planes, ground stations, vehicles or ships as well as enabling
extremely high frequency satellite communications.
Link 16 is also ancient history. TTNT or something even later would be the followon standard now. Though why you would want to play talkee-talkee
with other assets in theater when the missions are almost certainly preplanned is ridiculous. I mean, look at the French and the F-117. If the B-2
had been in the local theater commanders taskable asset list they might well have 'demanded a phone call' that put a 2 billion dollar asset into the
Stealth upgrades include replacing the old RAM coatings with newer “Alternative high frequency materials” which require far less maintenance and
will eliminate the need for radar-absorbing tape that currently covers access panels and fasteners on the B-2’s wings.
B-2 Gets New Stealth Coating
The Air Force this summer received the first B-2 bomber modified with an updated stealth coating. With B-2s being modified at a rate of three aircraft
per year, the entire B-2 inventory will receive the upgrade by 2011.
Northrop Grumman applied its specially developed Alternate High Frequency Material (AHFM) low observable coating to Spirit of Washington when the
bomber went through programmed depot maintenance at the company’s Palmdale, Calif., facility. The rest of USAF’s 21-aircraft B-2 fleet will
receive the AHFM coating during regularly scheduled depot overhauls.
The new coating, which is applied via a robotic spray paint system to areas where routine base-level maintenance is performed, significantly reduces
the maintenance time needed to get the stealth bomber ready for combat. Originally, the B-2 was designed to have specially formulated tapes and caulks
applied to the surfaces near maintenance access panels. Each time routine maintenance was performed, the ground crews had to remove the tapes and
caulks, then reapply them and let them cure before returning the aircraft to operational status.
AHFM will replace about 3,000 feet of tape and reduce maintenance time from several days to several hours, said Northrop Grumman.
Check the damn date. Indeed, I remember reading something out of AvLeak around 2000. Once More: Old News looking for New Money.
Using “Alternative high frequency materials” will also eliminate the required 36+ hours for application and curing the stealth coating in use
Weapons upgrades consists the ability to carry and deliver 80 independently-targeted 500-pound smart bombs. Currently, each B-2 can only accommodate
16 smart bombs.
Northrop Grumman Completes Deliveries of ``Smart'' Bomb Rack that Enhances Weapons Payload of B-2 Stealth Bomber
PALMDALE, Calif., March 28, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has completed an upgrade of the U.S. Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber that
allows the aircraft to deliver five times its previous capacity of independently targeted, "smart" (GPS-guided) weapons.
The company delivered the 54th and final smart bomb rack assembly (SBRA) earlier this month to the Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force
Base, Mo., home of the B-2 fleet. A SBRA-equipped stealth bomber can deliver 80 500-pound smart weapons, each targeted against a different aimpoint.
Another upgrade will enable the B-2 to carry two 30,000-pound conventional bunker buster bombs, able to punch through over 60 feet of reinforced
Ho Boyee the return of Grand Slam! Sigh. Earthquake Effect folks. Strata Coupling and 'will it reach' the 400ft or greater depths to which Korea,
Libya and all the other major buyers of large-bore tunneling machines are now burrowing like freakin' gophers.
I think not.
If you want realistic digger capabilities _for contemporary threats_ you should be talking about a followon to the B53. Or a super-alloy + 'air
drill' on an 8-12,000mph RV.
And y'all just can't wrap your minds around the downwind effects of 10MT and a ballistic option to killing crazed midgets playing whackamole from
beneath multistory manhole covers. Can you?
Small diameter bombs with the ability to glide 60 miles to target...
Oooooooh, now you've done it. Because the only way they've yet shown GBU-39 uploaded on a B-2 is with a BRU-61 mount to the rotaries-
i.e. 4 bombs on one rack on each of eight stations = 64 bombs. Every 40 hours, at best.
Compared to at least 8 on ANY other jet, say an F-15/16/18 or, gasp, A-47, every 8-10 hours for 1/20th the gas. 40/8= 5 sorties, 5X 8 = 40. 20
equivalent airframes for equal fuel X40 bombs = 800 aimpoints serviced.
Rendering the B-2 into a complete joke of "Did I miss the war?" pride force.
Again, don't even -attempt- to connote 'how much better a HEAVY bomber is' when you cannot even match payload rates with the STANDOFF weapon which
suggests that that bomber is not survivable without escort anywar.
as well as long range A2A systems are also planned.