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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

B-1B Upgrades

With the transition of the B-1B from a nuclear to a conventional role in 1993, the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program (CMUP) was begun. Initially, for a conventional mission, the bomber could carry only Mk-82 500-pound general-purpose bombs. Block changes carried out under the CMUP have upgraded the aircraft's capabilities as follows:

  • Software upgrades to offensive and defensive systems (Block B).
  • Capability to deliver CBU-87/89/97 cluster bombs (Block C).
  • Communications system upgrades, addition of Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation, and capability to deliver GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) (Block D).

Remaining blocks of CMUP will accomplish the following:

  • Upgrade the computers for increased weapon flexibility and better supportability, and integrate Wind Corrected Munition Dispenser (WCMD), Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW), and the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) weapons (Block E).
  • Upgrade the defensive avionics suite by removing most of the existing AN/ALQ-161 and replacing it with an AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver and portions of the Navy's AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) system with a Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy (Block F). The Air Force wanted to replace most of the older AN/ALQ-161 system because it repeatedly breaks down, there was a shortage of repair parts, and maintenance costs were $50 million a year. The ALE-55 was still the preferred solution; however, due to the lack of demonstrated maturity of the ALE-55 during the first five B-1 flight test sorties, prudent risk management indicated a second option should be explored. The B-1B was supposed to dispense up to eight of the 18-inch decoys which emit an electronic signal intended to confuse enemy ground radar and draw an incoming missile away from the aircraft. By late 2002 BAE Systems had built about 250 decoys for testing and would produce up to 3,000 if the program entered production. Tests in 2001 and early 2002 showed decoys had difficulty dispensing properly from the aircraft or they prematurely severed from the fiber-optic lines that trail the aircraft. Flaws in the decoy system led to a December 2002 decision to cancel the five-year-old $900 million program. Efforts to fix these flaws had increased development costs by $175 million, or about 70 percent, and meant the first units would not be ready for combat until October 2007, 17 months late. That would be 14 1/2 years after the upgrade program was conceived. The B-1B Defensive System Upgrade Program was canceled in December 2002 due to repeated cost and schedule over-runs. However, the AF continued to improve the B-1B's effectiveness through integration of new computers and advanced conventional weapons. Combined Developmental and Operational Testing (DT/OT) for the new computers completed in July, and dedicated operational testing completed in December 2002. Testing showed the computers met or exceeded all Key Performance Parameters and they were approved for full rate production in April 2003.

The Advanced Conventional Bomb Modules [ACBM] were uniquely designed to meet the needs of the B-1B aircraft during the transition between Block D and Block E. All the munitions personnel have to do is switch a circuit card and one cable, and the modules will be ready for Block E. With the upgrade, the B-1B's will be able to employ Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers and will still be able to carry Mk-82, 500-pound bombs and cluster bomb units. The upgrade helps weapons loading capabilities keep up with changes to the aircraft's on-board computer systems. The aircraft are upgrading from 1970's vintage computers to the capability of today's computers," he said. "This upgrade also includes a new avionics flight software package. With this upgrade, operators needed new bomb modules that were compatible with the new computers.

The 28th Munitions Squadron received shipment of the first two of 13 new Advanced Conventional Bomb Modules 03 April 2000, taking the B-1B one step closer to Block E integration. The new ACBMs differ from the ones currently used as the new modules already have the wiring and electronics capability required to handle Block E weapons upgrades. A bomb module seats inside an aircraft bomb bay and is configured to hold different types and sizes of bombs. Ellsworth is the first bomber base to receive the new modules. The new ACBMs were available for use by base bomb squadrons in mid-May 2000, and the remaining modules were delivered by mid-September 2000.

Cockpit Upgrade Program (CUP) - Current B-1 cockpit display units are not capable of supporting graphic intensive software modifications. The CUP installs a robust graphic capability via common display units throughout the front and aft stations. This program increases B-1 survivability by providing critical situational awareness displays, needed for conventional operations, keeping pace with current and future guided munitions integration, enhancing situational awareness, and improving tactical employment.

Link-16 - Providing Line-of-Sight (LOS) data for aircraft-to-aircraft, aircraft-to-C2, and aircraft-to-sensor connectivity, Link-16 is a combat force multiplier that provides U.S. and other allied military services with fully interoperable capabilities and greatly enhances tactical Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence mission effectiveness. Link-16 provides increased survivability, develops a real-time picture of the theater battlespace, and enables the aircraft to quickly share information on short notice (target changes). In addition to a localized capability, the B-1's datalink will include BLOS capability increasing flexibility essential to attacking time-sensitive targets.

B-1 Radar Upgrade is a candidate Long Term Upgrade that would improve the current Synthetic Aperture Radar resolution from three meters to one foot or better, allowing the B-1 to more autonomously and precisely Find, Fix, Target, Track, Engage, and Assess enemy targets with guided direct-attack or standoff munitions (JDAM/JSOW). Finally, the upgrade would replace older components that will be difficult to maintain due to obsolescence and vanishing vendors.

The B-One Next Enhancement (BONE) effort will include the integration and responsibility for future enhancements or improvements to the B-1 weapon system. The B-1 System Program Office (ASC/YD) announced in January 2001 that it contemplates awarding a single over-arching contract for acquisition and sustainment of the B-1 weapon system. The contract may include level of effort and discrete tasks for enhancement and sustainment activities to support product support, sustaining engineering, software support, technical data, Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) support, initial spares and support equipment as well as enhancements or improvement efforts for upgrades to the weapon system.

The Government cannot predetermine at the project level the precise B-1 aircraft acquisition and sustainment requirements or improvements to be acquired. Enhancements/upgrades/acquisitions may include, but not limited to, development and production of cockpit display upgrades, integrated Link 16, beyond line of sight UHF SATCOM datalinks, radar upgrades, vertical situation display replacement, gyro stabilization system upgrade, on-board diagnostics hardware upgrade, electro-multiplexing system upgrade, automatic test system upgrades, GATM upgrades, GPS modernization, ALQ-161A reliability and maintainability upgrades, defensive system upgrade, computer avionics upgrade, weapon integration upgrades, conventional bomb modules 1760 conversion upgrades, mission planning system upgrades/conversions, IFF system upgrades, digital flight control (including central air data computer) enhancement, B-1 unique support equipment, and associated B-1 weapon system software changes.

This single over-arching contract for the weapon system will contain multiple contract types at the contract line item level (e.g., cost-plus incentive fee, firm fixed price, time & materials, etc.) to accommodate a wide range of potential tasks. Contract efforts are subject to FAR 52.232-18 availability of funds.

On November 29, 2001 McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $4,500,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide for the B-One Next Enhancement contract. This action will provide continuing support necessary to fulfill the mission and operations and ensure the combat capabilities of the B-1 aircraft. The contract may include tasks for enhancement and sustainment activities to support sustaining engineering, software support, technical data, diminishing manufacturing sources support, initial spares and support equipment as well as enhancements or improvement efforts for upgrades to the weapon system. The Air Force can issue delivery orders over the 15-year life of the contract totaling up to the maximum amount indicated. Solicitation for this sole source contract began in August 2001, and negotiations were completed November 2001. The Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-01-D-2050).

The requirements for this acquisition are further defined in terms of functions to be performed relative to the acquisition of upgrades and sustainment efforts for the B-1 weapon system. Sufficient capability to integrate B-1 weapon system must exist to perform at a minimum ALL of the following related tasks: Provide interim contractor repair on programmed and known/unknown non-programmed B-1 weapon system items identified for repair/modification. Product support requires the contractor to identify, evaluate and recommend solutions to resolve B-1 weapon system hardware and software technical and supportability anomalies, deficiencies, and problems. Integrate hardware modifications with software and testing to verify proposed engineering problem solutions. Provide software support efforts required to analyze software change requests, and field anomalies. Design, code, and test software changes (including block changes) to the B-1 aircraft weapon system and ground support systems. Included in this effort is the integration of the software with the B-1 weapons system to include administrative support, interface with flight test organizations, manufacture of firmware, and compliance with Air Force retrofit processes. Identify and evaluate impacts to AF Mission Planning Systems, B-1 Training System, and associated ancillary equipment include identifying and evaluating impacts to those systems resulting from air vehicle anomalies, field anomalies and software/hardware block changes. Develop, deliver and maintain B-1 system related technical data as required. At a minimum provide maintenance of the Paperless CDRL Delivery System (PCDS) for Government and B-1 training system prime contractor to access all B-1 program data electronically. Perform weapon system enhancements or improvement efforts to support at a minimum all B-1 weapon system upgrades including development, test, production, retrofit modifications and related Type 1 training.

A B-1B Lancer crew successfully targeted three different weapon types against three separate targets in a single, 20-second bombing run on May 2, 2002 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Part of a computer upgrade test program, the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force crew released one MK-84, 2,000-pound bomb, three MK-82, 500-pound bombs, and four CBU-89, 1,000-pound cluster munitions. Each struck targets about 10,000 feet apart. This is the first time in Air Force history an aircraft's on-board weapon system used multiple weapon types against multiple, separated targets, automatically releasing munitions at the proper time and position in a single bomb run.

In 2003, testing began to integrate the Joint Standoff Weapon and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. At the same time, new upgraded computer systems were installed. Combined DT/OT flight test for the integration of JSOW and JASSM onto the B-1 began in September 2003 and was scheduled to complete in April 2004.

As of 2003, according to DOT&E, operational testing did not confirm that the B-1B Block E system actually tested would be effective in combat. However, it would be suitable. Compared to the performance of the B-1B Block D in IOT&E, the B-1B Block E demonstrated a 16 percent decrease in weapon release rate and a reduction in accuracy of Mark 82 low-drag weapons. When employing the Ground Moving Target Indicator/Ground Moving Track mode of the radar to engage moving targets, the B-1B Block E system demonstrated a hit rate of 14 percent. In addition, the operational test indicated a tendency for Wind Corrected Munition Dispenser weapons to go to unintended impact points with miss distances as high as 6,500 feet, thus increasing the chance of collateral damage. While technical order publications, weapons load checklist procedures, and maintainer training deficiencies are resolved, effectiveness and suitability shortfalls remain.

The year 2005 marked the debut of new offensive avionics software designated as Sustainment Block 10 [SB-10]. An enhanced version of the Lancer's flight software, SB-10 provides advanced weapons patterning capability and the ability to load more than one type of weapon in each of the B-1's three weapons bays. In the past, a set of target coordinates had to be entered for every guided weapon prior to release. With block-10, the crew can specify the number of weapons in a linear or circular spacing around a single set of coordinates, greatly improving the ability to strike a maneuvering target.

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