Defense Microelectronics Activity
Home Location Contact Us Site Map Privacy & Security Small Business Info
Success Stories

Keeping The B-2 Flying

Image: B2 The B-2 Bomber is the most expensive aircraft ever made. Until recently, more than 140 obsolete microelectronic components and sub-modules could not be acquired for support of the B-2 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). The system was designed more than 15 years ago and yet, in addition to the obsolete parts,
significant amounts of design and performance support documentation for critical parts could not be located. The lack of parts and documentation was significantly impacting the supportability of the RWR and threatened to impact the mission of the B-2.

The DMEA effort was two-fold: First, the engineering staff within DMEA reverse-engineered several microelectronic integrated circuits, a process involving testing & characterization of the original part, and redevelopment of design & performance documentation. New, replacement parts with performance characteristics virtually identical to the original part were designed, tested and qualified. Production parts are currently available and are being used for support of the RWR. Secondly, DMEA contracted for and program-managed the efforts of several private-sector contractors to provide the reverse engineering, redesign, test, qualification, and manufacture of obsolete subassemblies within the RWR. This effort required constant monitoring and coordination of tasks between multiple contractors and government agencies due to the specialized nature of the work.

“B-2 electronics are becoming increasingly unsupportable, and [DMEA’s] unique capability is critical to B-2 weapon system readiness and sustainability... Your technology specialists have already shared with us unique technology and industry insight into the microelectronics life cycle processes, and have suggested specialized tools that will help us proactively manage B-2 obsolescence. There is no doubt that [DMEA] will ultimately save the government tens of millions of dollars.”

Albert L. Napoli, Jr., Chief
Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

“We came up with an alternative method of supporting the [B-2] platform. It resulted in significant cost savings and produced replacement parts much quicker than could have been accomplished using the DOD’s traditional procurement methods. One of the reasons we’re here is to help keep costs to a minimum.”

Kurt Minard, DMEA engineer


Reverse Engineering can be a critical step in determining the scope of a DMS problem. Want to learn more? Read about DMEA’s state-of-the-art Integrated Circuit Test Facilities

Copyright 2001-2002 DMEA. All rights reserved.