B-2 SATCOM system development moves ahead

May 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 16 (UPI) -- Successful end-to-end ground testing of a satellite communications system for U.S. B-2 bombers has been completed by Northrop Grumman.

The tests prove the maturity of technologies used and open the way for full-scale development of the system, which could operate with the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite network.

"Our tests suggest that once a B-2 is equipped with our new antenna and an extremely high frequency [radio, communication will occur accurately and securely with the AEHF satellite network during all phases of the aircraft's mission," said Maria Tirabassi, Northrop Grumman's product manager for B-2 EHF antenna systems. "This capability would allow it to operate more effectively in anti-access/area-denial environments."

The system was demonstrated last month using a prototype AESA antenna and a government-furnished Navy Multi-band Terminal and an AEHF engineering model payload representative of EHF satellite payloads currently in orbit.

Northrop said it plans a demonstration in which the AESA antenna and a terminal to communicate directly with an operational AEHF satellite.

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