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24 Apr 14. Northrop Grumman has completed a US Air Force (USAF) review of a new software package for the 20-aircraft B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet. The preliminary design review of the weapons management system software was conducted on 26-27 February at Northrop Grumman’s B-2 facility in Oklahoma City, the company revealed in a 24 April press statement. The upgrade, known as the USAF’s ‘Flexible Strike Phase 1’ programme, was created to streamline weapons management software on the aircraft, according to Northrop Grumman. “We’re simplifying the software used by the B-2 to manage its weapons,” said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 programme manager in Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems division. The aircraft currently has several standalone software programmes that each manage a specific mission. “We’re replacing that software with a single programme that can manage all of those mission types,” Mazur added. The simplification will reduce maintenance costs, and increase reliability, according to Northrop Grumman. The Flexible Strike programme is the first B-2 modernisation effort to take advantage of the new communications infrastructure Northrop Grumman created for the first increment of the B-2 EHF satellite communications programme. That infrastructure included faster processors, a fibre optic network, and increased onboard data storage. Northrop Grumman also began software and hardware upgrades to the aircraft’s Lockheed Martin AN/APR-50 defensive management system (DMS) in February. Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division is developing a new avionics graphics processor, while L-3 Communications Randtron Antenna Systems and Ball Aerospace are working on new antennas for that upgrade. Northrop Grumman declined to provide an update on the progress of the DMS effort. In October 2012, the company completed field installations of the B-2’s active electronically scanned array (AESA)-upgraded Raytheon AN/APQ-181, under the radar modernization programme. Other enhancements to the B-2 include improvements to the cockpit weapon interfaces to accommodate new munitions, such as the Small Diameter Bomb II, and Massive Ordnance Penetrator; the fitting of enhanced communications; and the installation of a Universal Armament Interface. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Apr 14. Rockwell Collins has launched the Networked Tactical Gateway (NTG), a smaller, cost-effective gateway solution that provides users with access to Link 16, the Joint Air Request Network and the Situational Awareness Data Link networks. NTG makes its debut at the 2014 Bold Quest 14.2, a two-week Joint Staff-led coalition demonstration beginning May 2 involving air combat assessment, joint fires, maneuvers and system concepts. Participating nations include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States. The NTG solution goes above and beyond by not only performing the standard MIL-STD-6020 forwarding rules, but also includes a complete digital close air support capability interoperable with fielded FireStorm, Tactical Air Control Party Close Air Support System, StrikeLink and Battlefield Air Operations Kit software solutions. The NTG is a culmination of over 10 years of joints fires and data link interoperability experience at Rockwell Collins. It integrates several flagship Rockwell Collins products:
* Rosetta Technology® data link software manages all the radio controls as well as data link translation and forwarding.
* The TacNet Tactical Radio (TTR) Small Form Factor Link 16 terminal, which is a 90-watt terminal that requires no fan cooling and gives access to the Link 16 network.
* The Defense Advanced GPS Receiver, a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module device for network time and individual position location information in