Under Secretary of the Air Force Rudy de Leon today signed a
letter of transmittal to Northrop Grumman Corporation to upgrade
the B-2 flight test vehicle AV-1 to operational status. This
follows the recent decision by the Air Force to upgrade AV-1 to
an operational aircraft, bringing the operational B-2 fleet to 21
The upgrade includes replacing the landing gear, a new
avionics suite and modifications to the aircraft structure, fuel
system and weapons bay doors.
The B-2 Spirit is the Air Force's low-observable bomber
capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions.
Its stealth characteristics give it the unique ability to
penetrate most air defenses. These stealth characteristics,
combined with its long range and large payload, provide a
powerful force projection capability.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman said that
the B-2, with the addition of a precision conventional weapons
capability this summer, will cause us to completely rethink the
way we plan attacks -- instead of the number of sorties required
to take out one target, our planners will decide the number of
targets to take out on one pass.
Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall said: The B-2
reach/global power -- providing our Commanders in Chief with
rapid, global precision response. She added that the aircraft
is an extraordinarily powerful tool for this nation.
The letter of transmittal obligates $150 million with a not
to exceed value of $493 million. This is a firm fixed price
letter contract with an expected contract completion date of June