Boeing has received a follow-on contract from the U.S. Air Force for additional upgrades of the B-1 bomber fleet. The job will focus on the upgrading of the avionics software.
The $57 million contract continues a software-sustainment program that has updated and improved the B-1 bomber’s sustainability and operational capabilities since the aircraft entered service in 1989. Usually, one avionics software block is in development while another is in test and a third is fielded on the fleet of 66 B-1 jets. This new agreement authorises Boeing to start work on Sustainment Block 16A (SB 16A).
SB 16A includes changes to the aircraft’s navigation, weapon delivery, radar, diagnostics, electrical multiplexing, communication and navigation management system software, along with controls and displays. Design and development work will begin immediately at Boeing.
“The B-1 continues to be used daily in combat operations,” said Rick Greenwell, B-1 program director for Boeing.
“Keeping the platform relevant and ready is more important now than ever. These annual software block upgrades enhance the sustainability of the B-1s and provide needed capabilities that aid this nation’s defenders.”
SB 16A will further improve the B-1 crew’s situational awareness, using the new color cockpit displays, data link, and sensor capabilities added by recently awarded production contract programs. The multi-mission B-1 has been employing a large mixed payload of precision munitions in combat support of collation troops. Its low radar cross-section, variable-geometry wings, advanced avionics, and afterburning engines combine to provide long range, maneuverability, high speed and survivability.