Upgraded B-1B Radar Goes Airborne

The Air Force in late April conducted the first flight test of a B-1B bomber with upgrades to its APQ-164 radar system. The test flight, during which the B-1 took off from Edwards AFB, Calif., and landed, as planned, at Dyess AFB, Tex., was successful, according Bill Wu, manager for this initiative, which is formally called the radar reliability and maintainability improvement program, or RMIP. “The radar weather detection mode was demonstrated, along with high-resolution ground mapping and precision position update capabilities,” he said. RMIP is focused on replacing radar parts that are becoming obsolete and unsupportable. The radar’s 1970s-era software is also being updated as part of it. The maiden flight test came after five years of development and ground testing. The first production aircraft modification is planned for 2011. Boeing is the lead contractor. (Edwards report by Jennifer Hogan)