US upgrades Stealth Bomber software

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – It looks like a publicity shot for the latest Star Wars film, but this picture actually shows a US military B-2 Stealth Bomber approaching the sound barrier. It was released today to coincide with the announcement of upgraded military software for the fleet.

The new flight management software, to be implemented by Northrop Grumman, is intended to extend the life of the B-2 fleet.

Designed by Semantic Designs, the software allows the B-2’s new integrated processing unit (IPU) to communicate, via a fiber network, with the aircraft’s processing applications, both current and planned. It provides the high-speed data handling environment required to implement future B-2 capabilities such as an EHF satellite communications system, and the ability to destroy moving targets.

As the Air Force’s B-2 prime contractor, Northrop Grumman contracted Semantic Designs to construct cost-effective, automated tools and translation methods to modernize the flight management computer system software applications, beginning with the OFP, by converting the legacy JOVIAL code to C. Northrop Grumman applied its system engineering methodologies to integrate new hardware and used the JOVIAL2C translator to convert the flight software to operate in the new processing environment.

“Semantic Designs’ automated JOVIAL2C direct translator allows Northrop Grumman to modernize the OFP and other software avionics components included in this B-2 refresh project,” said Ira D Baxter, Semantic Designs’ chief executive officer. “Our translator provides a fast, reliable conversion to C at a lower cost than a manual conversion. It also gives the B-2 a modern software language that will support the operational and mission needs of the aircraft throughout its lifetime.”

The US has about 20 B-2 heavy bombers, which are the flagships of the country’s air force. They were first used in combat in Kosovo, and have been used regularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.