B-1 Modernization Effort Advances

Boeing on Tuesday announced that it is moving forward with adding three new capabilities to the B-1B bomber fleet thanks to a $99.5 million contract it received from the Air Force. This contract covers procuring the first lot 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. These three modifications fall under the Integrated Battle Station initiative; installation will take place concurrently from late 2012 through 2019, according to the company. “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, Boeing’s B-1 program director. The Air Force wants to retire six B-1Bs in Fiscal 2012 and plow the savings from the drawdown into modernizing the remaining 60 B-1s.