Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to install a redesigned aft deck on the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Under the $109m contract, the company will reconfigure the deck to ensure reliability and extend normal long-term maintenance cycles without additional services or repairs.

The aft deck is a metallic panel on the plane’s upper surface that shields its airframe from the heat of engine exhaust.

The B-2 Spirit is a low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber designed to penetrate complex air-defence shields and deploy conventional and nuclear weapons.

Work under the contract will be conducted at the company’s facilities in Palmdale, California, and St Augustine, Florida, US.