Fri, Aug 14, 2009
Contract Award Expected In 2010
Boeing said Thursday that a B-1
bomber upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link
(FIDL)successfully completed the first flight late in July. This
upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications
architecture, enhancing B-1 crews' situational awareness and
communications capability. The U.S. Air Force 419th Test Squadron
conducted the flight from Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
The objective of the FIDL development program is to enhance the
B-1 bomber by integrating beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight
data links. The data links reduce crew workload by dynamically
re-tasking missions, eliminating the need for steps such as manual
entry of weapons data for targeting.
In addition to the cockpit upgrades, the modification also
improves and more tightly integrates the aft crew stations by
replacing displays and associated hardware that were installed
during aircraft production in the early 1980s. Additional upgrades
include new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability
and an Ethernet network to integrate the aircraft's systems.
Boeing personnel at Edwards Air Force Base have been modifying
the test aircraft over the past year. B-1 program employees at
Edwards, at the Boeing facility in Long Beach and in other
locations developed and integrated the new system's hardware and
"Our team worked closely with the Air Force and many other
programs throughout Boeing as we performed independent reviews of
product designs and gained valuable insight from employees
performing similar development tasks," said Mahesh Reddy, Boeing
B-1 program manager. "This cross-company teamwork led to our
successful first flight, which brings us one step closer to
completing this major B-1 upgrade for our customer."
Flight testing will continue through 2010. The Air Force is
expected to award a contract in November 2010 for the production of
FIDL installation kits for the service's entire B-1 fleet.
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