U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman has secured a $400 million contract from the U.S. Navy’ to manufacture the FMU-139D/B, a new all-electronic bomb fuze suitable for many general-purpose bombs used by the U.S. Department of Defense and its allied nations.
With the U.S. Navy’s decision this January to authorize full rate production, the improved FMU-139D/B bomb fuze creates a uniform solution for general purpose bombs that increases performance and reliability, while decreasing cost, according to a company news release.
The FMU-139D/B replaces three legacy bomb fuzes – FMU-139C/B, FMU-152 and most FMU-143s – which were manufactured with technology that relied on mechanical mechanisms to safe and arm each fuze. In contrast, the FMU-139D/B relies on electronics to safe and arm the device, greatly improving its reliability as 100 percent of the fuze’s electronic functionality can be tested before the fuze is delivered to the customer.
“Increased flexibility and agility will enable the warfighter to cover a broader set of missions,” said Pat Nolan, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman. “The FMU-139D/B’s all-electronic nature improves affordability. It is easier to manufacture, assemble and test than other legacy fuzes.”
Under Northrop Grumman’s contract with the U.S. Navy, the FMU-139D/B production orders have the potential to exceed $400 million over the next four years. FMU-139D/B will be used by both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force, and the Navy Program Office will manage the requirements.
The FMU-139D/B will be produced at Northrop Grumman’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) facility in Rocket Center, West Virginia. The FMU-139D/B is designed to be a multi-purpose fuze equipped with general purpose characteristics and also serves as a highly survivable fuze for penetrator weapons. This flexibility offers the U.S. Department of Defense and its allied nations a multi-purpose fuze solution.