The B-1 gets a revamp
The Boeing B-1 will get a complete overhaul into modernization and will be the largest modification of the plane’s history. The modification will install the fully-integrated data link, or FIDL, and vertical situation displays upgrade, or VSDU; as well as improve the central integrated test system, or CITS. The data link will allow the air crew to speak and communicate with troops in a joint theater, regardless if they are on the ground or at sea. The upgrade of the CITS will replace obsolete components and provide the B-1 flight crews and maintenance personnel with sustainable, highly reliable fault diagnostic and fault isolation system. The Air Force has spent more than seven years planning this project. Through the planning and prototyping phase, the effort has been led by the B-1 Development Systems Manager office at Wright-Patterson AFB. Development began when commercial and military engineers discussed Air Combat Command requirements and constraints. They worked out a technical plan. Once the requirement was defined, officials discussed funding and scheduling. The B-1 Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB contracted with Boeing to prototype and tests each modification separately, and to deliver production kits. After completion of the first IBS install, management of the program will transition fully to the B-1 division at Tinker. The IBS team has set aside 300 days to complete the “kit-proof” modification. As the kit-proof modification progresses, the team will review the lessons learned and adjust procedures as required to ensure future installations are streamlined and overall required modification time is reduced. Earlier in the year, the B-1 bomber aircraft has completed its 10,000th combat mission. The heavy bomber entered service with the U.S. Air Force on June 29, 1985, and has been in nearly continuous combat for the past 10 years. The milestone mission took off from a base in Southwest Asia and was flown in support of operations over Afghanistan before returning to base. The B-1 brings tremendous flexibility to the USA’s defense. B-1 crews in Southwest Asia fly a variety of missions, including close air support for troops on the ground, giving them cover and alerting them to threats they cannot see. On-site maintainers keep the fleet ready to fly.