Two engineers check the RF power levels of the AESA antenna as they ready it for the satellite demonstration.
For warfighters, updated battlefield information is crucial. The US Air Force’s B-2 aircraft will soon be able to send and receive such information more quickly, thanks to a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna. That antenna, demonstrated by Northrop Grumman, is capable of establishing and maintaining communications with an on-orbit Air Force advanced-extremely-high-frequency (AEHF) communications satellite via a Navy multi-and terminal.
The AESA antenna is designed to support both tactical and strategic missions while maintaining the B-2’s standard characteristics. With its “no-radome” design, it offers new communications capabilities to the B-2 while maintaining the aircraft’s operational characteristics.
The antenna also demonstrated extended-data-rate (XDR) communications, securing signaling protocols and communication waveforms. Previously, it had been tested on instrumented test ranges, verifying its performance over its entire transmit and receive frequency band, as well as over its required range of scan angles. Northrop Grumman is currently the Air Force’s prime contractor for the B-2.