Boeing has received an $84m follow-on contract from the US Air Force for additional upgrades of the B-1 bomber fleet’s avionics software.

The B-1 is a multimission aircraft, which has been carrying the largest strike payload in the air force inventory since its combat debut.

The aircraft has a low radar cross-section, variable-geometry wings, advanced avionics and afterburning engines that gives it long range, manoeuvrability, high speed and survivability.

The contract is part of a software-sustainment program that has continually updates and improves the B-1’s operational capabilities once a year with latest avionic software.

Following this award, the company will start work on sustainment block 16 (SB 16).

Each software sustainment block will include changes to navigation, weapon delivery, radar, electrical multiplexing, communication/navigation management system software, and controls and displays.

Boeing B-1 programme director Mahesh Reddy said that this major block will enhance the aircraft’s colour cockpit displays, data link, radar and navigation in ways that will significantly improve B-1 aircrews’ ability to execute their missions.

The design and development work of the SB 16 will begin in 2012 after SB 15 is delivered in 2012 and SB 14 in 2011.