Air Force scours industry for replacement part to nuclear bomber communications system

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., 12 March 2013. U.S. Air Force aircraft communications experts are scouring industry to find companies able to build replacements for the obsolete CU-2421 antenna coupler for the AN/ARC-211 HF radio that Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, designed for the B-2 nuclear bomber aircraft.

Officials of the Air Force Materiel Command at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., issued a source-sought notice last week (5985-01-368-8340) looking for companies able to replace the obsolete part for the B-2 communications HF radio system.

An antenna coupler essentially tunes an antenna to enable it to transmit and receive radio waves efficiently over a relatively wide frequency range. Without such a coupler to tune the antenna to many different frequencies, radios would require many different antennas to operate reliably.

The AN/ARC-211 radio was designed originally for the first versions of the B-2 bomber, which began fielding in the early 1990s. Since then various upgrades to the strategic bomber have installed high-speed data handling, EHF satellite communications, and other avionics improvements, but at least some of the aircraft still need the AN/ARC-211 HF radio.

Radios that operate on high-frequency (HF) bands between about 2 and 30 MHz rely on relatively long radio waves that bounce off the layer of the atmosphere called the ionosphere. The ability to bounce, or "skip" along layers of the atmosphere, gives the HF radio extremely long-range capability.

In the absence of satellite communications, HF radio could be the B-2's only method of contacting home bases or national command authorities while on distant missions. The ability to communicate reliably over long distances is essential for the B-2 because it can carry nuclear weapons.

So to find an acceptable replacement for the AN/ARC-211's obsolete CU-2421 antenna coupler, the Air Force is conducting a market survey to identify companies that could do the job.

Officials of the Air Force Materiel Command want to hear from companies able to furnish all required labor, expertise, facilities, and equipment to accomplish a CU-2421 antenna coupler obsolescence study, analysis, and solution recommendations.

Companies must have a quality system that meets the requirements of ISO9001:2008; possess all required technical data to perform the task; have previous history and technical knowledge of the item; and be familiar and have experience with form, fit, and function components, line replaceable units (LRUs), and shop replaceable units (SRUs) replacements.

Companies also must have previous history, technical knowledge, and experience working with hardness-critical items (HCIs), which have the ability to tolerate doses of radiation sufficient to operate through a nuclear explosion.

Companies interested should respond no later than 5 April 2013. For questions or concerns contact the Air Force Material Command by email at More information is online at

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...


New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles