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B1-Bomber at Dyess Air Force Base gets first of almost $100 million system upgrade

By Braid Blanks, bblanks@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 08:34:55 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 03 2014 08:16:37 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Some big news from Dyess Air Force Base: The B1-Bomber program is getting an almost $1 billion upgrade. It's the largest B1 modification in the program’s history.

They now have their first operational B1 equipped with the Integrated Battle Station or IBS upgrade which according to Dyess officials is a combination of three different upgrades, which include a Fully-Integrated Data Link, a Vertical Situation Display Upgrade and a Central Integrated System Upgrade.

“Being able to efficiently and effectively hit our targets and make changes in flight is what's really going to make the B1 the bomber of choice, which it already is, but it's going take it to the next generation," said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Germany, a wing avionics manager assigned to the 7th Maintenance Group at Dyess Air Force Base.

The Integrated Battle Station Upgrade means the aircraft will be equipped with new technology and data link systems that will make a world of difference to those who fly and maintain these bombers. 

"Before we had all analog monitors in the front of the aircraft. Now we have all digital monitors with the upgrade which allows the pilots to see everything real time and color. It downloads faster which allows them to troubleshoot the jet at a quicker rate which will decrease troubleshooting time, which is monumental for the Air Force,"  said Tech. Sgt. Germany.

On our tour of the B1 cockpit, Dyess officials told us these upgrades will change the way they work with joint and coalition forces.

"It allows the jet to basically communicate real time with everyone in the battle field. So if you have Allied jets in the area not just Air Force, but the Army, Navy, we can communicate with those people," said Tech. Sgt. Germany.

“We're hooking up to a network, so we can see other jets and communicate with other jets, {we can see} command and control functions and functions on the ground. We see exactly what their munitions load is, what their fuel is and their current location. We can see all of that information and it helps us pick the right jet for the right mission,"said Mast. Sgt. Eric Dassinger, a wing avionics manager assigned to the 7th Maintenance Group at Dyess Air Force Base.

Dyess says they will be equipping the entire fleet with this new system about ten planes a year. They expect to be finished with the upgrades around 2019.