$180M to Upgrade B-1 Bomber Fire Control Radars
The Boeing Company has received a 9-year, $180 million contract to upgrade the AN/APQ-164 fire control radar on the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of 67 B-1B long-range bomber aircraft under a Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program (RMIP). Most of the RMIP kit will come from subcontractor Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD. It comprises a new radar transmitter/receiver, a radar processor computer and a translated [DID: from its original programming language], rehosted software package.
The B-1B Lancer heavy bomber’s ability to find and track targets is becoming even more important to its missions, given the new prevalence of GPS/INS guided JDAM bombs, WCMD cluster bombs, and precision glide bomb weapons like the JSOW and Small Diameter Bomb. These weapons developments mean that greater detection range and precision have become increasingly important to its missions.
A radar first introduced in 1985, however, means that extremely old electronics are involved. Upgrading the synthetic aperture radar is designed to improve its reliability by 200% (threefold), and also remove the growing issue of parts from the old radars that are no longer manufactured. This will improve the B-1’s readiness rates, while keeping its capabilities current.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Andy Dichter, Deputy Director for Joint Integration on the Air Staff, confirmed that the USAF has earmarked about $1 billion for various B-1B bomber upgrades in its current multi-year spending plan, which runs through FY 2011.
Boeing will deliver modification kits to replace the bombers’ receiver and processor beginning in 2011, and will support field installation and checkout of the RMIP kits at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB), TX; Ellsworth AFB, SD; and Tinker AFB, OK. Installation is scheduled to be completed in 2014, and Boeing will flight-test the upgraded aircraft at Edwards AFB, CA. See corporate release.