B-1 Fleet Poised for Battle Station Modification

The first B-1 bomber slated to undergo the Integrated Battle Station modification at Tinker AFB, Okla., touched down earlier this month at the base, announced Tinker officials. The aircraft’s Sept. 13 arrival is “an important milestone for the B-1 program; it puts us one step closer to starting the biggest modification effort in the history of the fleet,” said Col. Mike Senseney, B-1 division system program manager, in Tinker’s Sept. 21 release. The modification work is set to commence in November, states the release. Already two of the Air Force’s 66 B-s are fitted with the new equipment from the testing phase, leaving 64 to go. The project involves installing a fully integrated data link, vertical situation displays upgrade, and a central integrated test system. The new equipment will replace obsolete flight instruments and significantly increase the crew’s real-time situational awareness, states the release. The fleet modification is estimated to cost around $975 million and take about eight years to complete, states the release. Boeing supplies the IBS upgrade kits. (Tinker report by Brandice O’Brien)