Raytheon's B-2 AESA Radar Successfully Completes Major T/R
Raytheon's AN/APQ-181 radar for the
B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber, now being upgraded to include a new
active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna, has
successfully completed a production readiness review (PRR) for the
transmit/receive (T/R) module at the heart of the array.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) is the principal
subcontractor on the B-2 Radar Modernization Program (RMP) for
prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Each antenna requires more than 2,000 of the two-channel
modules, making them the single largest investment for the system.
The modules are now fully qualified with zero failures in the
qualification test program, and Raytheon has demonstrated its
ability to mass produce them at an affordable cost.
To achieve PRR, Raytheon's T/R module design for the B-2 AESA
completed qualification testing on schedule. The testing proved the
modules could perform in extreme temperatures, vibration and shock.
Throughout the testing, critical functions of the T/R modules
evaluated were successful with no need for rework or retest. More
than 40 pilot production T/R modules had been produced through the
end of August. The pilot modules are demonstrating greater transmit
and receive performance than required at a lower weight and cost.
At the end September, approximately 500 production modules were in
process or complete.
"The B-2 T/R modules are a tremendous successful story for this
program. They are cheaper, faster and better than we ever
anticipated and are providing a strong foundation for the B-2 radar
modernization program," said Rob Dorr, Northrop Grumman program
manager for the Radar Modernization Program.
"This milestone proves Raytheon has the design and manufacturing
expertise to produce a reliable active array for the B-2," said
Raytheon SAS vice president Erv Grau. "The B-2 is another success
story in the Raytheon family of AESAs that is also expanding
mission effectiveness for the F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft."
The new antenna will preserve legacy system radar performance
and improve reliability, and will make future growth easier.
Completion of PRR was required before the system development and
demonstration (SDD) phase could begin. The Milestone B decision
authorizing SDD was signed on August 17, 2004; in September
Raytheon received a $194 million contract from Northrop
The B-2 Radar Modernization Program began with a study that
defined two alternatives the government could pursue to provide
improvements in radio frequency usage between the B-2 and
commercial systems. The Air Force chose the AESA option because of
its inherent reliability and growth potential.
Total value of the B-2 RMP to Raytheon, including the remaining
development work and a future production contract, is expected to
be approximately $600 million. The majority of the radar work will
be performed in El Segundo (CA) and Dallas (TX).