A Boeing B-1 bomber aircraft upgraded with the fully integrated data link (FIDL) has concluded its first flight from the Edwards Air Force Base.

Under the FIDL development programme, the B-1 aircraft has been upgraded with beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight data links to enhance its situational awareness and communications capability.

The data links aim at reducing crew workload by dynamically retasking missions, eliminating the need for steps such as manual entry of weapons data for targeting.

Modifications also include cockpit upgrades and improved tightly integrated aft crew stations by replacing displays and associated hardware installed in 1980s.

Further, new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability and an ethernet network has been integrated into the aircraft’s systems.

Flight tests will continue through 2010 and the air force is expected to order FIDL installation kits for the service’s entire B-1 fleet in November 2010.