Numerous sustainment and upgrade modifications are ongoing or under study for the B-1B aircraft. A large portion of these modifications which are designed to increase the combat capability are known as the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program. In FY93, The Air Force initiated CMUP in FY1993 to improve the B-1's conventional warfighting capabilities. The $2.7 billion CMUP program is intended to convert the B-1B from a primarily nuclear weapons carrier to a conventional weapons carrier.
Paragraph 7 of Article IV of the START II Treaty gives each Party the right to reorient to a conventional role -- without undergoing any conversion procedures -- heavy bombers that have never been accountable under the START Treaty as heavy bombers equipped for long-range nuclear ALCMs. This provision is applied on an airplane-by-airplane basis; for example, the fact that B-1 test heavy bombers have been tested with long-range nuclear ALCMs is not a bar to reorienting heavy bombers of that type to a conventional role. Note that the right to reorient without any physical conversion is clariflied by the requirement in subparagraph 8(d) of this Article that such reoriented bombers have differences, observable to national technical means of verification (NTM) and visible during inspection, from other heavy bombers that have not been reoriented, so that they can be differentiated from other heavy bombers of the same type and variant with a nuclear role (if any).
The right to reorient heavy bombers to a conventional role is in addition to the right under START-1 to convert, using specified procedures, no more than 76 heavy bombers to heavy bombers equipped for non-nuclear armaments. A Party could, if it chose, have both 75 converted non-nuclear heavy bombers and 100 heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role that did not require conversion procedures. Heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role do not count against the START II warhead limits. However, since heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role need not undergo any conversion, they remain fully accountable under the START Treaty as heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments other than long-range nuclear ALCMs (i.e., each counts as one delivery vehicle and as one warhead towards the START Treaty's ceilings). Paragraph 8 of Article IV of the START II Treaty sets forth specific restrictions on heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role. Subparagraph 8(a) limits the number of reoriented bombers to 100 at any one time, while subparagraph 8(b) mandates segregated basing for such bombers. Subparagraph 8(c) bans use of reoriented heavy bombers for nuclear missions or in nuclear exercises and bars their crews from training or exercising for nuclear missions. This prohibition does not ban such training or exercising by crews of bombers of the same type and variant that have not been reoriented. Subaragraph 8(d) requires that heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role have differences observable to national technical means (NTM) from heavy bombers of that type and variant that have not been reoriented. This provisions aids in confirming adherence to the requirements of subparagraph 8(b) for segregated basing. The specific differences are listed in the Memorandum of Attribution. While these observable differences are primarily an aid to NTM, they are also required to be visible during on-site inspections. Alternately, if all heavy bombers of a type have been reoriented to a conventional role, the requirement to have differences observable to NTM is unnecessary since these aircraft are observably different from other types or variants and it would be clear in which category they fell. In addition, there would be no need or purpose in exhibiting an aircraft if all heavy bombers of that type and variant fell into the same category. The observable differences referred to in subparagraph 8(d) need not be functional. As a result, they need not necessarily make heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role "distinguishable" (as that term is defined in the START Treaty) from other heavy bombers.
Paragraph 9 of Article IV provides each Party the right, following 90-day advance notification to the other Party, to return to a nuclear role heavy bombers that have been reoriented to a conventional role. This right is important to the United States. The United States reorient B- 1 heavy bombers to a conventional role, but preserved the option to return these bombers to a nuclear role if and when B-52H heavy bombers are retired. Once returned to a nuclear role, such heavy bombers will count "as actually equipped" under the START II Treaty and may not subsequently be reoriented to a conventional role a second time.
Paragraph 10 of Article IV of the START II Treaty requires at least 100 kilometers separation between air bases for heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role and storage areas for heavy bomber nuclear armaments. This restriction is based on a similar restriction in subparagraph 11(e) of Article IV of the START Treaty. Note that this restriction would not preclude nuclear weapons for other strategic or tactical systems (e.g., ICBM reentry vehicles or weapons for tactical air- craft) from being stored within the 100 kilometers specified, nor would it preclude deployment of nuclear warheads on ICBMs at ICBM bases co-located with air bases for heavy bombers reoriented to a conventional role. There are no specific verification provisions specified in the START II Treaty for this restriction.
Paragraph 11 provides that reoriented heavy bombers remain subject to the provisions of the START Treaty, including the inspection provisions. Such heavy bombers are accountable under the START Treaty as heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments other than long- range nuclear ALCMs.
The four-block Conventional Mission Upgrade Program will enhance the airplane's effectiveness as a conventional weapons carrier. Capability will be delivered in blocks attained by hardware modifications with corresponding software updates. CMUP Block C, fielded in August 1997, gave B-1Bs the capability to drop cluster bombs. Block D upgrades, fielded in December 1998, include JDAM capability, a new defensive system, a towed decoy, which will enhance the survivability of the aircraft, and a new communication/navigation system. CMUP Block E gives B-1Bs the capability to deploy wind-compensated munitions, Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOWs), and Joint Air To Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs). It is scheduled to begin operational service in 2002. CMUP Block F, a set of further improvements to the bomber's defensive system, will go into operational service in 2003.
Initial conventional capability was optimized for delivery of Mk-82 non-precision 500lb gravity bombs. All B-1Bs were designated as "Block A" models before the CMUP began.
Block B gave the B-1B an improved Synthetic Aperture Radar, as well as some upgrades to to the Defensive Countermeasures System, which improved its maintainability and provided a reduced false alarm rate. The Block B upgrade reached the field in 1995.
Block C "Enhanced Capability" provided for delivery of up to 30 Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs) per sortie for enhanced conventional capability against advancing armor. Initial capability achieved in September 1996 with FOC in August 1997. The upgrade consists of modification for B-1B bomb module from the original configuration of 28 500-pound bombs per unit to 10 1,000-pound cluster bombs per bomb rack. The modifications apply to a total to 50 refitted bomb racks -- enough to equip half the B-1B fleet.
Block D "Near Precision Capability" gives B-1 aircrews increased abilities to accurately put bombs on target with improved weapons and targeting systems, as well as giving them advanced secure communications capabilities. The upgrade for the Air Force's entire B-1 fleet costs $330 million. The upgrade, completed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, OK, integrates the ALE-50 repeater decoy system, the first leg of the electronic countermeasures upgrade, and JDAM for near precision capability and adds anti-jam radios for secure communication in force packages. FY96 and FY97 Congressional plus-ups are being used to accelerate JDAM initial capability by 18 months (1QFY99). Congress has provided extra funding to allow a group of seven aircraft to be outfitted and ready a full 18 months early, with the first three JDAM equipped aircraft to be ready by December 1998, and the last of those seven aircraft planned to arrive at Ellsworth AFB by February 1999. The 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB received the first upgraded aircraft in November 1999 and three more by January 2000. All Dyess B-1s are projected to have the upgrade and new electronic countermeasures system by May 2004.
Block E "Standoff Capability" upgrades the current avionics computer suite and integrates Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) for standoff capability (FY02). Initially Block E was confined to cComputer and WCMD upgrades and Block F the DSUP integration upgrade, with a Phase III Block G "Standoff Capability" containing the JSOW & JASSM integration upgrades.
Block F improves the aircraft's electronic countermeasures' situational awareness and jamming capabilities.
The Towed Decoy System (TDS) provides an interim improvement in the survivability of the B-1B in a hostile environment until the Defensive System Upgrade Program is complete. The decoy is a repeater jammer that's towed hundreds of feet behind the B-1B. The decoy lures enemy missiles shot at the B-1B away from the aircraft by providing a more inviting target to the missile. The major components of the Navy developed ALE-50 Towed Decoy System are a launcher, a controller, a display unit, and decoy. This modification will require the addition of two fairings to the tail section of the B-1B to house the launcher and decoys. The Towed Decoy upgrade delivered first three operational aircraft in January 1999. B-1B's capable of deploying the ALE-50 towed decoy, were used for the first time in Operation Allied Force. The decoy was deployed on every mission flown. The TDS system proved to be highly effective in Operation ALLIED FORCE. The TDS program is well into production and will complete modification of the the entire B-1 fleet by FY04/FY05.
The Defensive Systems Upgrade Program (DSUP) is a major modification to the defensive system on the B-1B. It provides improved threat warning to the aircrew and enhances the survivability of the B-1B in a hostile environment. DSUP will replace the current defensive system, the ALQ-161, with the ALR-56M radar warning receiver and the Navy-developed IDECM radio frequency jamming system, which includes a fiber optic towed decoy (FOTD). This modification will reduce the number of defensive system "black boxes " from 120 to 34. This will reduce the weight of the B-1B approximately 4000 pounds. The program has started the test phase of the development effort with flight test scheduled to start in late FY01. A Milestone III production decision is scheduled for the first quarter of FY04.
Block G Initially Block E was confined to cComputer and WCMD upgrades and Block F the DSUP integration upgrade, with a Phase III Block G "Standoff Capability" containing the JSOW & JASSM integration upgrades.
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