BONE Growth: Boeing announced Monday that it has received a $23 million follow-on contract from the Air Force to continue work to enhance the targeting system on the B-1B bomber. The company said software upgrades planned under this phase 2 work will complete Sniper targeting pod integration so that B-1 aircrews may use the Sniper in combination with the GBU-54, the 500-pound laser-guided joint direct attack munition, to attack moving ground targets. A B-1, using Sniper, attacked a stationary target with the GBU-38, the non-laser-guided 500-pound JDAM, for the first time in combat in August 2008 in Afghanistan. Boeing said the new upgrades will also enable the Sniper to send GPS target coordinates automatically to the JDAMs, thereby removing the need for the aircrew to enter the data manually. This software is expected to enter testing in February 2011.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.