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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 12:20
B-2 Spirit of Ohio lifts off from U.S. Air Force Plant 42 for one of its final pre-delivery flight tests.- photo LM

B-2 Spirit of Ohio lifts off from U.S. Air Force Plant 42 for one of its final pre-delivery flight tests.- photo LM

 

PALMDALE, Calif., Sept. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

 

The U.S. Air Force expects to increase the number of B-2 stealth bombers available for combat by one full jet and reduce fleet sustainment costs significantly under a new maintenance agreement worked out with B-2 prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC).

 

Under the contract modification signed in April, Northrop Grumman will give each B-2 a major, end-to-end overhaul – a process called programmed depot maintenance (PDM) – once every nine years. Each jet currently undergoes PDM once every seven years. The PDM process, which includes a complete restoration of the jet's exterior surfaces, is performed at the company's Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale.

 

"This new approach to B-2 maintenance is a win-win for the Air Force and the nation," said Brig. Gen Eric Fick, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Bombers within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. "It will enhance the jet's readiness to conduct global security missions, and is expected to save taxpayers about $900 million in maintenance costs over the life of the fleet."

 

"The nine-year PDM cycle is part of an aggressive on-going effort by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force to increase bomber availability," said Pat McMahon, sector vice president and general manager for military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Our experienced work force has critically reviewed every PDM material and process for potential improvements. As a result, we've been able to reduce the length of the PDM process, and increase the time between PDM periods."

 

Bolstered by the adoption of USAF best practices used by other Northrop Grumman programs, the new nine-year overhaul cycle will reduce the average length of B-2 PDM to 365 days, down from more than 400 days in previous years. Under the new rhythm, Northrop Grumman will induct a B-2 into PDM approximately once every six months.

 

"Our delivery of the B-2 Spirit of Ohio back to the Air Force in August marked the last time we expect to have more than two jets in PDM at any one time," said McMahon. "Fewer jets undergoing PDM in Palmdale will keep more B-2s ready to serve the nation's security needs."

 

The B-2 is the only long-range, large-payload U.S. military aircraft that can penetrate deeply into denied access enemy air space. It can fly 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 and hold at risk an enemy's most heavily defended targets.

 

The latest B-2 product news and information from Northrop Grumman is available at http://www.northropgrumman.com/B-2.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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18 juillet 2014 5 18 /07 /juillet /2014 16:20
US Air Force, Northrop Grumman Celebrate 25th Anniversary of B-2 Stealth Bomber's First Flight

 

PALMDALE, Calif., July 17, 2014 Northrop Grumman

 

For several goose bump-filled minutes today at U.S. Air Force Plant 42, it was July 17, 1989, all over again.

 

Just as they had on that historic day 25 years ago, several thousand Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) employees, civic leaders and Air Force personnel stood along the company's southern fence line in Palmdale to watch a B-2 stealth bomber taxi onto Runway 25.

As the tailless, bat-wing-shaped jet made its final turn and paused, its four General Electric engines began to roar. Slowly at first, then faster and faster, the B-2 thundered down the runway. As it lifted off and rose gracefully into the western morning sky, so too did the cheers of the adoring crowd, many of whom had started their careers on the B-2 program during its 30-plus-year history.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the Air Force's B-2 bomber, a key component of the nation's long range strike arsenal, and one of the most survivable aircraft in the world.

"For the past 25 years, the B-2 has been, and today continues to be, one of the most decisive and effective weapons systems for influencing our adversaries and defending America's interests around the globe," said Brig. Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. "The B-2's ability to provide strategic deterrence capabilities to our nation's leaders -- and when deterrence fails, to deliver global power options -- is a testament to the talents of those who designed and built the B-2, and to the daily sacrifices of the airmen who fly, maintain and support the fleet."

Northrop Grumman conducted its 25th anniversary ceremony today on the tarmac near the facilities where every B-2 bomber was built and where every B-2 comes for a periodic wingtip-to-wingtip overhaul known as programmed depot maintenance.

Set against the backdrop of an operational B-2, the program included remarks by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda; Bruce Hinds, former Northrop Grumman chief B-2 test pilot, who commanded first flight; Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven L. Basham, who co-piloted the first B-2 combat mission, and Duke Dufresne, a former B-2 program manager for Northrop Grumman and currently sector vice president, Operations for its Aerospace Systems sector.

"The B-2's maiden flight from Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base lasted just over two hours, but it changed forever the tenor of long range strike and international diplomacy," said Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Today, the bomber personifies Northrop Grumman's innovation and imagination, and provides an enduring symbol of the company's commitment to the brave men and women who defend our nation."

Following takeoff, the B-2 pilots thrilled the audience by circling back over the Plant 42 at low altitude and performing a ceremonial "wing wave" for the crowd.

The B-2 can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons. It is the only aircraft that combines stealth, long range, large payload and precision weapons delivery in a single platform. The B-2's unique capabilities allow it to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and put at risk its most heavily defended targets.

Please visit www.northropgrumman.com/B-2 for the latest news and information about Northrop Grumman's work modernizing and ensuring the availability of the B-2.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company that provides innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

 

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11 juin 2014 3 11 /06 /juin /2014 10:50
B-2 Spirit bomber & KC-135 Stratotanker - photo USAF

B-2 Spirit bomber & KC-135 Stratotanker - photo USAF

 

June 11th, 2014 defencetalk.com

 

The US Air Force has deployed two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers to a British air base for exercises with NATO allies, the Pentagon said Monday.

 

The deployment, which the Pentagon said was preplanned and short-term, comes against a backdrop of tension with Russia over unrest in Ukraine.

 

“It certainly is yet another demonstration of America’s ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance,” said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

 

US military deployments have increased in recent weeks as Washington seeks to reassure Eastern European allies worried about Moscow’s moves in the region.

 

The two B-2 bombers arrived Sunday at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England, where they joined three other B-52 strategic bombers that got there on June 4.

 

“These multi-role heavy bombers will conduct training flights in the US Eucom area of operation, providing opportunities for the air crews to sharpen their skills and increase interoperability,” Warren said.

 

Overseas deployments of the B-2 are rare, as the United States jealously guards the costly aircraft’s secrets. There are only 20 B-2s in existence.

 

A B-2 bomber overflew South Korea last year during an exercise amid tensions with the North.

 

Based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the B-2 were designed to penetrate the world’s most formidable air defenses and drop dozens of precision, conventional or nuclear bombs.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
B-2 stealth bomber photo US Air Force

B-2 stealth bomber photo US Air Force

 

25 Mar 2014 by Jon Hemmerdinger – FG

 

Washington DC - A US Air Force report about a 2010 fire on a Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber says that firefighting crews in Guam were unfamiliar with the aircraft’s tailpipe or with the potential for tailpipe fires.

 

The report, dated 26 May 2010 but only recently posted on the USAF’s website, attributes the fire to the aircraft’s design and inadequate flight manuals, but calls attention to training shortcomings with the firefighting team at Andersen AFB on Guam.

 

It says those shortcomings likely resulted in additional damage to the roughly $1.7 billion aircraft, which required $64.4 million in repairs over nearly four years.

 

Two fire chiefs at Guam told the USAF “they were unaware that a tailpipe bay existed, and they were unaware that there was a potential for fire inside it,” says the report.

 

The USAF did not immediately provide answer to questions about why fire crews were ill prepared, or about any steps taken to improve training.

 

The fire began on 26 February 2010, after the crew started all four of the aircraft’s General Electric F118 engines, and then shut one down following a generator problem.

 

During restart, “reverse airflow”, possibly caused by the adjacent running engine, drew fuel vapour into the tailpipe, says the report. The vapour ignited, which ignited oil-soaked foam in the tailpipe bay, says the report.

 

Firefighters contained the blaze after 26min, but applied less than 5% of 34,000 gallons of extinguishing fluid on the tailpipe. That was where the fire was hottest, at about 1,000˚F, says the report.

 

“There were delays in putting agent on the fire at its source in the tailpipe bay, which allowed the fire to burn longer and likely resulted in increased damage,” says the USAF. “No one in the Andersen AFB fire department was familiar with B-2 tailpipe bays.”

 

The USAF also recently released a report about a second B-2 ground incident, which occurred on 8 July 2011 at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. Crew error contributed to that incident, which involved overheating of the aircraft’s pitot system, says the report.

 

The overheating occurred because the pitot static heat switch was turned to the “on” position for 67min while the aircraft was connected to ground power during a fuel-offloading procedure, says the report.

 

“This action was a clear procedural error and a causal factor in the mishap,” says the report. “This switch must be in the off position prior to applying external electrical power.”

 

The USAF says it could not determine which crew member turned on the switch, but notes that it could have been mistaken for the adjacent windshield defog switch, which should be set to “min” while under ground power.

 

The overheating damaged all of the aircraft‘s 24 static port transducer units and two panels on which the units were mounted, says the USAF.

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8 mars 2014 6 08 /03 /mars /2014 12:20
U.S. Air Force To Spend $11.8 Billion To Develop New Long-Range Bomber

A B-2 during aerial refueling which extends its range past 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km) for intercontinental sorties - photo USAF

 

March 7, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

Bloomberg News is reporting that the U.S. Air Force’s five-year plan calls for spending $11.8 billion to develop a new long-range bomber, one of the Pentagon’s top weapons projects. That information comes from military budget figures.

 

The aircraft would replace Northrop Grumman Corp.’s aging B-2 stealth bombers, the report noted.

 

Read more.

 

More from Bloomberg:

 

The Defense Department sees it as vital to reaching far-flung, heavily defended locations worldwide. Northrop may compete with the two biggest federal contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT:US) and Boeing Co. (BA:US), which plan to bid as a team.

 

While the Air Force has said it may build as many as 100 of the bombers in a program potentially topping $55 billion, the service’s new five-year plan released this week didn’t include production funds for those aircraft.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
Talon and Spirit

 

3/5/2014 Strategy Page

 

A T-38 Talon flies in formation with the B-2 Spirit of South Carolina during a training mission over Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 20, 2014. The B-2 Spirit is a multirole bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

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17 décembre 2013 2 17 /12 /décembre /2013 18:20
B-2 Stealth Bomber – 20 Years In Operational Service

 

December 17, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

News release from Northrop Grumman Corporation:

 

On a grey, chilly afternoon 20 years ago today, the first operational B-2 stealth bomber, the Spirit of Missouri, circled the airfield at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., once, then landed, marking the start of a remarkable history that has given the U.S. one of its most powerful defensive – and diplomatic – weapons.

 

Developed, produced and sustained by a U.S. Air Force/Northrop Grumman Corporation-led (NYSE:NOC) industry team, the B-2 is the nation’s premier long range strike aircraft. The fleet of 20 bombers is based at Whiteman, near Kansas City, ready to defend the nation’s interests anywhere in the world, anytime day or night.

 

“For 20 years, the B-2 has been one of the nation’s most decisive, most effective weapon systems for defending America’s interests around the world. It deters our enemies and assures our allies of our capabilities and our commitment,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of the Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing.

 

The B-2, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, is the only aircraft that combines stealth, long range, large payload and precision weapons. Its stealth characteristics allow it to penetrate sophisticated enemy air defenses and threaten heavily defended targets.

 

 “The strength of the B-2 lies not simply in its warfighting capabilities, but also in the passion and the spirit of innovation of the men and women who have kept it lethal and effective against evolving threats for the past 20 years,” said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “It remains one of America’s most important symbols of strength and freedom.”

 

Northrop Grumman leads all B-2 modernization efforts. It also performs programmed depot maintenance on the fleet at its B-2 program office in Palmdale, Calif. Current modernization efforts will enhance the bomber’s communications, defensive and weapons capabilities.

 

“The capabilities of the B-2, and the technological innovations behind it, are part and parcel of U.S. defensive and diplomatic leadership around the world,” said Mazur. “As it has helped define the present, so it will continue to inform and help define the future.”

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 12:20
Pour L’US Air Force, il s’agit de remplacer les B-1B, B-2, B-52

Pour L’US Air Force, il s’agit de remplacer les B-1B, B-2, B-52

 

13 novembre 2013 Aerobuzz.fr

 

Boeing et Lockheed Martin ont décidé de s’associer pour réaliser le futur bombardier stratégique américain à long rayon d’action (LRS-B). Les deux constructeurs grillent la priorité à Northrop Grumman, le spécialiste de la question. Les racines de cette décision remontent aux années 80...

 

A défaut de savoir exactement ce que sera le futur bombardier stratégique américain, on sait déjà quelles seront les équipes alignées pour le réaliser. Boeing et Lockheed Martin ont annoncé fin octobre leur volonté de s’associer pour le concourir. Tandis que Northrop Grumman, grand spécialiste de la question depuis le très secret programme B2 « Spirit », l’avion le plus cher de tous les temps, réserve sa réponse.

 

Avec cette décision, Lockheed Martin et son département « Skunk Works » tiennent leur revanche. En effet, l’avionneur américain, auquel on doit le F/A 22 Raptor ou encore le F35 Lightning II est un pionnier des avions furtifs. Ses premières recherches, remontent aux années 60. L’avionneur avait d’abord tenté de diminuer la signature radar des avions espions U2, sans succès notable, car cet avion n’a jamais été conçu au départ pour avoir une faible signature radar.

 

Une leçon parfaitement intégrée dès les premières épures de son successeur, le fantastique SR-71 Blackbird. Ainsi, outre la silhouette générale de l’avant de l’appareil, aux formes douces, et l’inclinaison des dérives, un traitement spécifique des bords d’attaque de la voilure a été appliqué sur l’appareil. Le tout, complété par un ensemble de brouillage actif dernier cri pour l’époque. A défaut d’être furtif, cet avion était discret.

 

Mais le vrai saut technologique a été accompli dans les années 70, grâce aux équations du savant russe Ufimtsev, qui ont rendu possible la mise au point de l’avion d’attaque F-117 Nighthawk, parfaitement invisible et terriblement efficace lors de la première guerre d’Irak. Par la suite Lockheed Martin a travaillé pour le Pentagone sur quantité de programmes aussi furtifs que secrets. Pendant ce temps Northrop Grumman, grand spécialiste des avions embarqués, sentait le vent tourner et décidait de s’engager sur la voie des avions furtifs. C’est donc tout naturellement qu’il a tenté de débaucher le « père » du F117, feu Ben Rich. Peine perdue, car le chef d’alors et fondateur des « Skunk Works » veillait au grain. Aussi l’attribution du contrat de bombardier furtif B2 à Northrop Grumman dans les années 80 fut une vraie déception pour Lockheed Martin.

 

Aujourd’hui, les B52 en service ont aux alentours de cinquante ans, les B1B Lancer de Rockwell remontent aux années 80 tandis que les 19 B2 Spirit, récents et polyvalents coutent une vraie fortune à l’entretien. Pendant ce temps, les systèmes de détection et de défense anti aérienne réalisés en Russie, en Chine et en Europe sont de plus en plus performants. Pire, la Russie affirme vouloir se doter de bombardiers stratégiques furtifs réalisés dans le cadre du programme PAK-DA. Ces avions remplaceront les TU-95 et autres TU-160. Et la Chine ne cache plus ses ambitions en matière d’aéronefs avancés. Du coup le Pentagone réfléchit à un engin furtif, raisonnablement moderne et surtout abordable ; on parle de 100 à 200 M$ l’unité.

 

Le futur bombardier stratégique américain devrait être capable de mettre en œuvre des armes nucléaires et conventionnelles à plusieurs milliers de kilomètres de sa base de départ. Idéalement il devra être capable de pénétrer les défenses anti aériennes les plus modernes pour les détruire ou collecter des données tactiques. Certains spécialistes américains estiment qu’il pourrait même être doté d’armes à impulsions électro magnétiques ou laser. De son côté Lockheed Martin affine sa réponse et laisse filtrer dans la presse des vues d’artiste d’un engin de reconnaissance hypersonique, on parle de Mach 6, furtif baptisé SR-72…

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10 novembre 2011 4 10 /11 /novembre /2011 12:55
Northrop Grumman Awarded $109M Contract to Redesign B-2 Spirit's Aft Deck

 

A B-2 Spirit refuels from a KC-135 during a deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

(Photo: U.S. Air Force, Val Gempis)

 

November 10, 2011 defpro.com

 

Redesign Promises to Reduce Maintenance Costs, Improve Aircraft Availability

 

PALMDALE, Calif. | Northrop Grumman recently won a $109 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce a redesigned aft deck for the B-2 stealth bomber, further enhancing the world's most survivable aircraft.

 

The B-2 Spirit's aft deck, a metallic panel on the bomber's upper surface that shields its composite airframe from the heat of engine exhaust, will be redesigned for long-term reliability and affordability. The retrofit will enable the aircraft to span normal long-term maintenance cycles without additional services or repairs.

 

The newly redesigned structure reflects Northrop Grumman's thorough thermal and structural analysis of the aft deck, its adjoining structures and the operating environment.

 

"Implementing a redesigned aft deck is an important part of guaranteeing the long-term viability of the B-2," said Dave Mazur, Northrop Grumman's vice president of Long Range Strike and B-2 program manager. "We are committed to assisting the Air Force in developing and implementing proactive solutions that are in the best interest of the B-2 fleet."

 

The aft deck enhancement is the latest spares replacement the Air Force, Northrop Grumman and its suppliers have undertaken to ensure the B-2 remains one of the most survivable weapons systems in the world.

 

"The B-2 industry team is working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency to improve aircraft availability," said Gary Roehrig, director and program manager for B-2 Product Support. "This is a complex effort, but it's key to fully equipping the warfighter."

 

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber remains the only long-range, large-payload aircraft that can penetrate deeply into protected airspace. In concert with the Air Force's air superiority fleet, which provides airspace control, and the Air Force's tanker refueling fleet, which enables global mobility, the B-2 helps ensure an effective U.S. response to threats anywhere in the world. 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.

 

Work will be conducted at Northrop Grumman facilities in Palmdale, Calif., and St. Augustine, Fla. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation's long range strike arsenal.

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