Boeing was awarded a $99.5 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to integrate three major modifications on the B-1 Lancer bomber fleet. This contract is for the first lot of modification kits of a planned multi-lot production contract to upgrade the service’s B-1s.
The upgrades include delivery of kits with parts for the Vertical Situation Display Unit in the forward cockpit and for the Fully Integrated Data Link and the Central Integrated Test System in the aft cockpit. All three programs will be installed concurrently from late 2012 through 2019 in a single modification called the Integrated Battle Station.
“The Integrated Battle Station upgrades will provide B-1 bomber aircrews with a higher level of situational awareness and a faster secure digital communication link,” said Rick Greenwell, B-1 program director for Boeing. “This will enable the aircrews to perform at an even more effective level and will make the B-1 cockpit more reliable and supportable. Combining the separate upgrades into one production kit will enable us to deliver a more affordable upgraded aircraft to our customer in a timelier manner.”
The three upgrades are in various stages of final ground and flight tests in preparation for installation on the B-1 Lancer bomber fleet.
The Vertical Situation Display Unit upgrades the B-1’s forward cockpit by replacing two unsupportable, monochrome pilot and co-pilot displays with four multi-functional color displays, giving the pilots more situational awareness data in a user-friendly format.
The B-1 Fully Integrated Data Link will give the aft cockpit new digital avionics including a Link 16 data link, which adds line-of-sight capability to the B-1's existing beyond line-of-sight Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol (JREAP) data link, and integrates the JREAP data onto new, full-color displays with intuitive symbols and moving maps.
The Central Integrated Test System adds a new color display in the aft cockpit and replaces an obsolete computer that continuously monitors the aircraft’s performance. It also is used by ground support personnel to identify and troubleshoot B-1 system anomalies.