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Northrop Grumman completes B-2 digital communications upgrades

Northrop Grumman, partnering with the US Air Force, has successfully completed an integrated airborne mission transfer demonstration with the B-2 Spirit at Whiteman Air Force Base as part of the ongoing modernisation efforts incorporating digital engineering.

Northrop Grumman, partnering with the US Air Force, has successfully completed an integrated airborne mission transfer demonstration with the B-2 Spirit at Whiteman Air Force Base as part of the ongoing modernisation efforts incorporating digital engineering.

Integrated airborne mission transfer (IAMT) is part of Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Collaborative Combat Communication (B2C3) Spiral 1 program that digitally enhances the B-2’s communications capabilities in today’s battlespace, delivering an advanced capability that enables the B-2 to complete a digital, machine-to-machine transfer of new missions received in-flight directly into the aircraft.

Nikki Kodama, vice-president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman, said, “We are providing the B-2 with the capabilities to communicate and operate in advanced battle management systems and the joint all-domain command and control environment, keeping B-2 ahead of evolving threats.”

The demonstration included approximately 50 mission transfers during a two-day period in partnership with the Air Force. Aircraft vehicle 1086, the Spirit of Kitty Hawk, was configured with Northrop Grumman’s multi-mission domain (MMD) architecture.

The integration of this digital software with our weapon system will further enhance the connectivity and survivability in highly contested environments as part of our ongoing modernisation effort,” Kodama added.

MMD is an open mission system architecture for the B-2 that allows rapid and affordable fielding of modern mission capabilities; the mission transfers utilised MMD to integrate with the B-2 Adaptable Communications Suite (ACS).

In the demonstration, the aircrew received an incoming transmission from the ACS ground station, which loaded the mission directly through MMD interfaces to the B-2 disk drive unit, this enables the B-2 flight crews to focus more on mission execution in today’s dynamic battlespace thanks to progressive digital technology.

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