Orbital ATK to produce composite components for USAF’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber


Orbital ATK has secured a contract to produce composite components for the US Air Force’s (USAF) B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

The $90m contract was awarded by Northrop Grumman and has an option for follow-on orders.

Orbital ATK will perform non-recurring engineering (NRE) and produce 17 hot trailing edge (HTE) composite parts over the next five years.

Orbital ATK Aerospace Structures division vice-president and general manager Steve Earl said: “We are honoured to partner with Northrop Grumman to extend the service life of the B-2 bomber.

“This programme capitalises on our core competency of providing advanced composite structures that use innovative Orbital ATK manufacturing processes to fit our customer’s needs.”

The company will perform the production of bomber components at its Aerospace Structures division facility in Dayton, Ohio, US, later this year.

"This programme capitalises on our core competency of providing advanced composite structures that use innovative Orbital ATK manufacturing processes to fit our customer’s needs."

Orbital ATK's aerospace composites business uses proprietary production processes that are said to shorten the manufacturing cycle, and produce quality, complex components with unmatched repeatability through sophisticated robotics automation.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is a key element of the US's long-range strike arsenal and one of the most survivable aircraft in the world.

The aircraft’s capabilities, including its stealth characteristics, allow it to penetrate the most sophisticated enemy defences.

The B-2 is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000ft, with a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refuelling, giving it the ability to fly to any point in the world within hours.


Image: An USAF B-2 Spirit flying over the Pacific Ocean. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Bennie J Davis III.