Boeing has handed over the first integrated battle station (IBS) modification kit-equipped B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF).
The aircraft was transferred from Tinker Air Force Base, located in Oklahoma, where the kit was installed, to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, US.
Involving three major aircraft modifications, including the integration of an upgraded front and cockpit, a new diagnostics system and a new Link 16 data system, the IBS kit is designed to improve the situational awareness and communication capabilities of the aircrew, and their ability to engage enemy targets.
The Link-16 installation enables the B-1 to operate in the integrated battlefield and more effectively support ground forces, while the cockpit modifications are expected to relieve reliability problems and provide an integrated flow of information.
Around four IBS kits have been supplied by Boeing as part of the initial Lot 1 contract awarded in June 2011, and an additional nine are scheduled to be delivered to USAF under a $65.8m Lot 2 follow-on contract secured in June 2012.
Manufactured by Boeing, the B-1B Lancer is a long-range and supersonic variable-sweep wing bomber operated by the USAF in support of the US and Nato missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Powered by four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engines, the bomber is capable of rapidly delivering massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary and at any time worldwide.
Image: The first IBS-equipped B-1 takes off from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, US. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.