The US Air Force conducted a previously undisclosed air-to-surface missile test with its B-2 Spirit Bomber in December 2021, Northrop Grumman announced.
The joint air-to-surface standoff missile – extended range (JASSM-ER) was used in the test, which improves the B-2’s ability to engage a range of targets.
The integration of the weapon system allows “delivery of a low observable asset capable of traveling greater distances than its predecessor.”
The stealth bomber already employs a standard JASSM cruise missile developed by Lockheed Martin.
“The unrivaled capabilities of the B-2 make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the U.S. arsenal,” Northrop Grumman Vice President and B-2 Program Manager Shaugnessy Reynolds said.
“Committed to continued modernization of the B-2, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready,” Reynolds added.
Additional B-2 Modernization
The firm explained that JASSM-ER is one of three new capabilities being introduced on the stealth bomber, part of the integrated functional capability P6.4 certified by the air force in 2021.
Because of the B-2’s ability to deploy both conventional and nuclear armaments, it has also received “crypto modernization” and radar-aided targeting systems (RATS).
With RATS, the B-2 will be able to use the B-61 mod 12 nuclear weapon. effective even without GPS. RATS will be used to conclude the B-2’s latest nuclear modernization.
Crypto modernization will enhance the communication security of high-frequency transmissions in future threat environments. Earlier this year, the firm conducted a successful flight test using its latest cryptology at a facility in Oklahoma.