Rockwell Collins builds VLF military communications for B-2 bomber

Military communications experts at the Rockwell Collins Government Systems segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are starting full-rate production of a secure and jam-resistant very low frequency (VLF) radio for the U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber to enable the aircraft crew to communicate with national command authorities while on long-range missions.

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio - Military communications experts at the Rockwell Collins Government Systems segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are starting full-rate production of a secure and jam-resistant very low frequency (VLF) radio for the U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber to enable the aircraft crew to communicate with national command authorities while on long-range missions.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are awarding a $12.9 million contract to Rockwell Collins for full-rate production of increment 1 of the Common Very Low Frequency Receiver (CVR) program.

U.S. strategic bombers typically communicate over UHF satellite communications (SATCOM) links, as well as the MILSTAR SATCOM system. These SATCOM links, however, are nearing the end of their anticipated life cycles. Their strategic communications replacement, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) SATCOM system, will not be ready for several years, officials explain.

Rockwell Collins began full-scale development of the CVR in late 2013, which involved modifying, qualifying, and testing a B-2 bomber VLF communications system, consisting of a terminal and receiver, antenna, human machine interface (HMI) display, and ancillary cabling, rack, and equipment to enable receipt and display of emergency action messages.

The CVR that Rockwell Collins is building for the B-2 bomber will form a bridge between the UHF SATCOM and MILSTAR systems and the future AEHF SATCOM system.

Rockwell Collins has developed the B-2's VLF communications system over the last four years in efforts to make the system available for the B-2 fleet by as early as this year. This time frame allows for only a modification and qualification program, not a full development program.

Rockwell Collins engineers have designed the B-2 CVR system to operate in the airborne nuclear combat environment, be secure, and be survivable, Air Force officials say. It is nuclear hardened and meets stringent cryptographic requirements.

On this contract, Rockwell Collins will do the work in Richardson, Texas, and should be finished by March 2019.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Rockwell Collins online at www.rockwellcollins.com.

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