A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is seen flying over Whiteman Air Force Base. U.S. Air Force photo
July 10 (UPI) -- Raytheon has received a $50 million contract for upgrades and engineering services for the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber radar system, the Department of Defense announced on Friday.
The contract will address obsolescence problems with the B-2 radar and will include testing, integration and repairs of radar components to bring them up to current operational standards.
Work will be performed at El Segundo, Calif., and is projected to be completed by July 5, 2020. No Air Force funds were obligated at this time.
The B-2 Spirit long-range heavy stealth bomber is tasked with delivering both conventional munitions and nuclear weapons. It is the only class of large stealth bomber currently in use.
Its primary mission is to strike heavily defended high-value targets using its stealth capabilities to avoid enemy detection by radar, infrared and electromagnetic energy sensors. The B-2s flying wing design, composite materials, radar absorbing coatings and other stealth systems make it very difficult to detect, track and engage using guided weapons systems.
It can carry most conventional air-to-ground ordinance in use by the U.S. Air Force, ranging from conventional bombs to the Massive Ordinance Penetrator for highly fortified targets. It has intercontinental range with in-flight refueling and forms a key part of the U.S. airborne nuclear deterrent.
The B-2 was designed to penetrate heavy Soviet Union air defenses during a potential nuclear conflict and saw its first flight in 1989. Its first combat use was during Operation Allied Force against Serbian targets and currently operates out of Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
The B-2 is expected to eventually be replaced by the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber currently under development.