In total, three new advanced capabilities are being introduced to the B-2 to further modernize the platform of which JASSM-ER is one. The fleet of B-2s is actually slated for retirement pretty soon, but it is still picking up advanced new capabilities in the meantime.
The B-2 fleet, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance, is also integrating crypto modernization and a Radar Aided Targeting System (RATS). The latest system advancements are part of integrated functional capability (IFC) P6.4, which was certified last year by the Air Force. RATS will complete the latest phase of nuclear modernization of the B-2 Spirit.
“The unrivaled capabilities of the B-2 make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the U.S. arsenal,” said Shaugnessy Reynolds, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman. “Committed to continued modernization of the B-2, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready.”
B-2 Spirit is America’s ad the planet’s first operational heavy payload stealth bomber. It was first introduced in 1989 and entered service in 1997. The aircraft is exceedingly difficult to detect even for those low-frequency arrays.
Whereas stealth fighters like the F-35 and F-22 are not particularly difficult to detect using even low-frequency early-warning radar arrays, the B-2 is perhaps the stealthiest operational aircraft in service today, despite its being rather old. Now, it’s set to become even more efficient.