EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 15, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), prime contractor for the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, will join the U.S. Air Force this week in two special events celebrating the combat-proven B-2's contributions to the nation's defense.
On Dec. 16 in Dayton, Ohio, Air Force and company officials will christen a ground-test version of the B-2 as "Spirit of Freedom" before its induction into the United States Air Force Museum. The museum will become the only place in the world where the public can take a close look at an advanced aircraft whose very existence was once hidden from view. Built to evaluate the B-2 airframe's structural integrity, the ground-test version will remain available to Air Force personnel for developing improvements for the active B-2 fleet.
On Dec. 17 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., the Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing and Northrop Grumman will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first B-2's arrival at the base. The same B-2 that arrived that day, the "Spirit of Missouri," will land in a re-creation of its 1993 flight from Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, Calif. Since then, the B-2 has consistently demonstrated its capabilities in three separate combat operations.
"As our nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of powered flight, it is fitting that we pay tribute to the women and men of the Air Force and the Northrop Grumman industry team who made the B-2 such a breakthrough in aviation," said Scott J. Seymour, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and Integrated Systems sector president. "No aircraft can match its combination of persistence, stealth and precision weapons. In addition, we are working with the Air Force to add new capabilities to ensure that the B-2 remains a key long-range strike system that enables emerging global power projection concepts."
The B-2's unique capabilities allow it to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. The B-2 meets the Air Force's requirement for long-range, lethal and survivable systems to project air power anywhere in the world. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to fly to any point on the globe within hours.
Ongoing efforts are enhancing the B-2's ability to respond to emerging worldwide threats. It will be better equipped to communicate and exchange data with joint force commanders and to receive updated target information during a mission. Integration of a new electronically scanned array radar antenna will significantly improve overall mission performance.
In a September test, a B-2 successfully dropped 80 "smart" (GPS-guided) weapons on a single pass, the first time an aircraft has delivered that many guided, independently targeted weapons at one time. The test featured a "smart bomb rack assembly," scheduled to be operational next year, that will enable the B-2 to deliver five times as many GPS-guided weapons as its current capacity of 16.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems for government and civil customers worldwide. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.
Contact: Jim Hart Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-3616 (310) 466-5509 (mobile)