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US B1B bombers complete integrated battle station upgrade

Integrated Battle Station on a B-1B Lancer
Photo: US Air Force

The US Air Force’s B-1B Lancer bomber fleet has completed the Integrated Battle Station installation following an eight-year effort.

Sixty aircraft went through the modification process that began in late 2012 and was completed in September 2020. The service said the undertaking was completed ahead of schedule.

The Integrated Battle Station was developed as three separate modifications: Fully Integrated Data Link, Vertical Situational Display Unit and Central Integrated Test System.

“During development, it became obvious that modifying the same aircraft three times would be detrimental to aircraft availability and would create numerous aircraft configurations,” said William Barnes, B-1B Systems Program Manager, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “Thus Integrated Battle Station was born.”

The Integrated Battle Station was the largest, most complicated modification ever performed on the B-1 and it gave the flight deck a whole new look.

The completed modification will enhance B-1B flight operations and give the crews more flexibility in performing their various missions.

Photo: US Air Force

“All aircraft outfitted with the Integrated Battle Station modification enhancements provide the four members of the aircraft with much greater ’battlefield‘ awareness of surrounding threats whether those threats are air-to-air or ground-to-air, and provides a much faster capability to execute both defensive and offensive maneuvers needed in any conflict,” Rodney Shepard, director of the 567th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said.

Lt. Col. James Couch, Commander, 10th Flight Test Squadron, whose pilots and Weapon System Officers performed numerous check flights on the modified aircraft, echoed those comments.

“This upgrade drastically improves aircrew situational awareness with color displays, and enhanced navigation and communication systems are projected to significantly enhance B-1B mission readiness,” Couch said. “Although this closes a chapter, this continues the unprecedented advances of B-1B lethality and aircrew situational awareness for decades to come. All of these benefits are made possible by the IBS upgrade.”