The process, developed under a 43-month award from the U.S. Air Force for a new Audio Central Distribution Unit, is called the Common Processor.
"Northrop Grumman has developed a concept called the Common Processor to create same-size, functional replacements for many of the B-2's most critical avionics units -- in a fraction of the time and cost required to do custom replacements for those units," said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "The ACDU will be the first B-2 avionics line replaceable unit (LRU) to be produced using this approach."
Northrop said an increasing number of LRUs will become obsolete and original equipment manufacturers may no longer produce the equipment. The Common Processor concept takes advantage of functional similarities among avionics LRUs on the B-2 today, uniquely combining hardware elements to create different types of LRUs.
About 21 different LRUs used on the B-2 that can be replaced using the Common Processor unit have been identified so far, the company said.
The contract Northrop received for the project is worth $43.5 million.