Northrop Grumman has begun flight testing of the new computing hardware and communications infrastructure for the US Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber.

The new B-2 extremely high-frequency (EHF) Satcom Hardware will enable the bomber to send and receive battlefield information by satellite more than 100 times faster.

The flight test programme is part of Increment 1 of the USAF’s B-2 EHF satellite communications programme.

The flight test programme demonstrated that the EHF increment 1 computer upgrade system has reached a maturity level to allow to conduct test sorties beyond the Edwards AFB local area.

The EHF Increment 1 system that took the flight test includes a new integrated processing unit to replace up to a dozen current stand-alone avionics computers on the B-2.

It also includes a new disk drive unit to enable transfer of EHF data onto and off the B-2 and a network of fibre optic cables to support the high speed data transfers within the aircraft.

The B-2 is the only US aircraft that combines stealth, long-range, large-payload and precision weapons in a single platform.