Northrop Grumman completes preliminary design review for B-2 stealth bomber software upgrade

The review process took place in February at the company’s Oklahoma City facility.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: April 25, 2014

Northrop Grumman Corp. has completed a major U.S. Air Force review of a new software upgrade for the B-2 stealth bomber. The preliminary design review was conducted in February at Northrop Grumman’s B-2 facility in Oklahoma City.

The upgrade is part of the Air Force’s Flexible Strike Phase 1 program. It is the first step in a process aimed at increasing the plane’s mission capabilities and reducing its maintenance costs, Northrop Grumman said.

Northrop Grumman is the Air Force’s prime contractor for the B-2.

Simplifying software program

“We’re simplifying the software used by the B-2 to manage its weapons,” said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “Today we have several stand-alone programs that each manage a specific type of mission. We’re replacing that software with a single program that can manage all of those mission types.”

For the Flexible Strike Phase 1 program, the company plans to replace multiple operational flight programs — embedded software that allows the B-2 to communicate accurately with the equipment that holds and dispenses its weapons — with a single program.

The B-2, a long-range, large-payload aircraft, is the only combat-proven stealth platform in the current U.S. inventory. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours.