According to a Defense Department contract announcement released Tuesday, "AMI Industries Inc., a United Technology Corp. Aerospace Co., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $14,374,531 firm-fixed-price contract for the B-2 Advanced Conception Ejection Seat (ACES) II Safety and Sustainability Program (SSIP)." Development and testing is to be completed by the end of 2018.Military.com.
The upgrade is aimed at enhancing the safe escape of Air Force pilots while reducing the cost and time of maintenance and installation of the seats. The aircraft will have a detachable seat back and a "bucket structure" that will allow maintenance without having to remove escape hatches.
The glass cockpit of the stealth bomber accommodates two people, a pilot and a mission commander.
"It is a dream to fly. It is so smooth," Maj. Kent Mickelson, director of operations for 394th combat training squadron, told Scout Warrior. "It is really an awesome bombing platform and it is just a marvel of technology," he said.
Other improvements to the B-2 will include upgrades to communication, software, weapons and stealth architecture. The bomber is slated to receive enhanced detection-proof features that will increase the difficulty of detection. Many aspects of the craft's construction are classified, but it is known that composite materials and a unique exterior coating contribute to its stealth capabilities.