Northrop Grumman has delivered the first B-1 bomber radar prime mission equipment kit under a series of U.S. Air Force contracts worth a combined total of $161 million for the B-1’s Radar Reliability and Maintainability Program (RMIP).
One radar kit has since been installed on a B-1 aircraft based at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Two additional kits have been delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and were installed in June.
“Fielding the B-1 Radar RMIP is a huge win for the Air Force,” said Maj. Daniel P. Walters, Air Force program manager, B-1 radar. “The upgrade is projected to significantly enhance B-1 mission readiness both at home and in combat, allowing operators to put bombs on a target for many years to come.”
The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $65 million RMIP base contract in September 2010 for 22 modification kits, along with test benches, spares, repairs, and technical data and services. Options worth an additional $95 million have since been awarded for another 38 kits. The RMIP replaces two line-replaceable units in the B-1’s AN/APQ-164 radar to improve both its reliability and maintainability.
“This investment will maintain the B-1’s critical capabilities by improving the reliability of radar system and reducing the manpower needed to maintain it,” said Tim Winter, vice president of Global Sensor Solutions at Northrop Grumman. “With this upgrade, the B-1 fleet will remain combat-ready for our warfighters.”
Northrop Grumman developed the RMIP upgrade prior to receiving the 2010 production contract. The modification kit includes a new radar receiver and transmitter, a radar processing computer and a reconfigured software package.
The new hardware will provide flexibility to expand the bomber’s mission capabilities as new technologies become available. The B-1 fleet was manufactured primarily during the 1980s.