Boeing B-1 Gets Data Link Upgrade

By Tish Drake | August 17, 2009
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Boeing on July 29 completed the first flight of a B-1 bomber upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). The upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture. The U.S. Air Force 419th Test Squadron conducted the flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Boeing said the FIDL is designed to enhance the B-1 by integrating beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight data links. In addition, the company said the data link can reduce crew workload by re-tasking missions, eliminating the need for steps such as manual entry of weapons data for targeting. Other upgrades include improving and integrating the aft crew stations by replacing displays and associated hardware, new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability and an Ethernet network. Flight testing will continue through 2010. The Air Force is expected to award a contract in November 2010 for the production of FIDL installation kits for the service's entire B-1 fleet.

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