Bomber Upgrade Advances

Boeing has announced that the Air Force and it have completed the first phase of flight testing for the fully integrated data link system that is being added to the B-1B bomber to increase aircrew situational awareness and targeting capability. Phase one actually concluded on Oct. 16 at Edwards AFB, Calif., with the completion of nine test sorties by the B-1 fitted with the new avionics components, which include a state-of-the-art moving map, said the company in a mid-December release. This phase included observations of how the crew acclimated to the new equipment as well as functionality assessments and temperature and vibration tests. The modified B-1 will now undergo programmed depot maintenance at Tinker AFB, Okla., and then return to Edwards for phase two testing in April. Boeing expects to receive a production contract for the FIDL kits for the B-1 fleet in November 2010.