Northrop Upgrading B-1 Radars

by: Matthew Potter
July 30, 2012

Category: Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Department of Defense, Events, Military Aviation, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Services, U.S. Air Force | RSS 2.0

Modern combat aircraft have become like ships in that they now serve for several decades receiving incremental refits and upgrades. Even while new systems are being developed and deployed older designs get new electronics, engines and munitions that enhance their effectiveness and usefulness.

The U.S. Air Force has done this consistently with their bomber force which consists of B-52 aircraft first delivered in the 1950’s, the 1980 built B-1 and the stealth B-2 delivered in the 90’s. A new bomber design is being developed but for the last eleven years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan it has been existing aircraft flying the missions.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) has just delivered the first kit to upgrade the B-1’s radar and it has already been installed on an aircraft. The Radar Reliability and Maintainability Program (RMIP) has so far been worth $161 million for the company. So far 60 kits have been purchased along with spares, support and test equipment.

The RMIP replaces portions of the existing AN/APQ-164 radar in order to make it more reliable and easier to maintain. The goal is to reduce repairs, improve availability and reduce maintenance requirements which should save money overall.

Northrop developed the kit prior to the award of the production contracts. There are close to 100 B-1 in U.S. inventory which means up to 40 more kits would be purchased if all of the aircraft will be updated.

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