Becoming Badder to the Bone

The most expansive upgrade project in the history of the B-1 bomber began this week at Tinker AFB, Okla., announced officials with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex there. Over the course of the next eight years, 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group personnel will install the Integrated Battle Station modifications on each B-1 in the fleet, according to Tinker’s Nov. 27 release. The project involves adding a fully integrated data link, upgrading vertical situation displays, and incorporating a central integrated test system on the bombers. The new gear will replace obsolete flight instruments and significantly increase the aircrew’s real-time situational awareness and ability to communicate with other forces, service officials have said. The first B-1 slated for the mods arrived at Tinker in September. Since two B-1s received the new equipment for the IBS testing phase, that leaves 61 aircraft yet to go, states the release. There were 66 B-1s in the fleet, but the Air Force retired three in September, leaving 63 still in service, states the release. Boeing is the prime contractor for IBS. (Tinker report by Brandice J. O’Brien)