UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

B-1B Upgrades

Cockpit Upgrade Program (CUP) - Legacy B-1 cockpit display units were 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.

USAF Global Strike Command (GSC) chief Gen. Timothy Ray told Air Force Magazine in April 2020 that he aimed to refit Lancers to carry the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), a hypersonic missile in development by Lockheed Martin. “My goal would be to bring on at least a squadron’s worth of airplanes modified with external pylons on the B-1, to carry the ARRW hypersonic cruise missile,” Ray told the publication, which noted that a typical B-1B squadron has 18 aircraft. The Air Force tested mounting an ARRW under the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress bomber last June, and this past February selected the ARRW over another Lockheed design, the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), aiming to have the ARRW operational by fiscal year 2022.

GSC put on an "expanded carriage demonstration" in August 2019 at Edwards Air Force Base in California, to show just how much of a weapons truck the Lancer could potentially be. Photos from the event show a mockup hypersonic missile attached to a Common Strategic Rotary Launcher (CSRL) like that used on some B-52s. The demonstration showcased the feasibility of increasing the B-1B weapons capacity to integrate future advanced weapons.

The two potential programs – external carriage and long bay options – would allow the B-1B to carry weapons externally, significantly increasing its magazine capacity for munitions, as well as adding larger, heavier munitions, such as hypersonic weapons. “The purpose of the demonstration was to show that we’re still able to move the bulkhead from the forward intermediate bay to the forward location; increasing the intermediate bay capacity from 180 inches to 269 inches, said Lt. Col. Dominic Ross, B-1B program element monitor, AFGSC. “Additionally, we demonstrated that we can still carry weapons externally on six of the eight hard points, which increases our overall carriage capacity.” Ross said the expanded capabilities will be conventional only, keeping the aircraft compliant with New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START.

"Basically, the configuration we're seeking is external hardpoints that can allow us to add six ARRWs,” Ray told reporters on 09 April 2020, noting that Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) and Joint Air to Surface Stand-Off Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) weapons could be mounted both internally or externally, bringing great versatility to the aircraft. "Our investments will be to improve the external carriage, and make sure that we have a good sustainment gameplan," he said.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 17-09-2021 18:46:30 ZULU