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B-2 Defensive Management System Modernisation Under Extensive Testing

Full Production Scheduled for 2019

A significant upgrade to the B-2 SPIRIT bomber’s Defensive Manageent System (DMS), known as DMS-M (for Modernisation) is now being extensively tested, according to a US Air Force statement.

Described by developers as, “the most extensive modification effort that the B-2 has attempted,” DMS-M aims at replacement of 1980s stealth technologies with newer, improved and more capable antennae, coupled with advanced digital ESM and software designed to integrate them with existing B-2 avionics.

Major sub-contractors to airframer Northrop Grumman in the effort include BAE Systems (receivers), Lockheed Martin (display processors), and Ball Aerospace and L-3 Randtron working on antennae. Total RDT&E funding for development and production of four units is $1.837 billion, with an additional $832 million earmarked for the procurement of 16 additional units, according to a USAF statement.

The B-2 provided the US with an immense strategic advantage at the time of its entry into service, despite the fleet consisting of only 20 aircraft. Initiatives such as the DMS-M will ensure the aircraft can continue to operate in the highly-contested environment of 21st century combat, including highly capable SAM systems such as the Russian S-300, S-400 and widely expected S-500. Full production is expected to be achieved by 2019.


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