Boeing Secures $84M Order to Upgrade B-1B’s Avionics Software
Boeing received an $84 million order from the US Air Force for upgrades to the B-1B heavy bomber fleet’s avionics software that will enhance the aircraft’s color cockpit displays, data link, radar and navigation systems.
The award (F33657-01-D-2050, SD-21) continues a software-sustainment program that has updated the B-1B’s operational capabilities since the aircraft entered service in 1989. This new contract authorizes Boeing to start work on Sustainment Block 16.
Boeing will update the following B-1B avionics systems:
- Offensive Avionics Flight software;
- Electrical Multiplexing (EMUX) software;
- Communications/Navigation Management System (CNMS) software;
- Offensive Radar System (ORS) software;
- Central Integrated Test System (CITS) software;
- Graphics Controller (GC) software; and
- associated support equipment software (e.g. simulation, ground processing, etc).
Boeing provides avionics software upgrade once a year for the USAF’s fleet of 66 B-1Bs. Sustainment Block 14, which was awarded Sept 29/07, is in flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, and will be delivered to the Air Force in 2011. Sustainment Block 15, which was awarded Sept 29/08, will be delivered in 2012. Design and development work for Sustainment Block 16 will begin immediately.
On July 30/09 Boeing completed the 1st flight of a B-1B upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). This upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture. The Air Force 419th Test Squadron conducted the flight from Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
The objective of the FIDL development program is to integrate beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight data links in the B-1 bomber. The data links eliminate the need for manual entry of weapons data for targeting. Additional upgrades include new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability and an Ethernet network to integrate the aircraft’s systems.
The B-1B is a multi-role, long-range bomber, capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling, then penetrating sophisticated enemy defenses. It can perform a variety of missions, including that of a conventional weapons carrier for theater operations. Through 1991, the B-1 was dedicated to the nuclear deterrence role as part of the single integrated operational plan (SIOP). Converting the B-1B to the conventional role was a gradual process, beginning in 1993 and culminating in October 1997 when the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base flew the last nuclear mission.