LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 03, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today said it has received a $45 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to upgrade avionics software on the B-1 long-range heavy bomber. The award is Sustainment Block 15 of an upgrade program launched in 2003.
The annual sustainment software blocks respond to changes in strategy and tactics and enable maximum operational flexibility. Boeing engineers in Long Beach, Calif., and Oklahoma City produce the software for the United States' fleet of 66 B-1s.
"This contract ensures that B-1 crews are equipped with the latest software improvements, allowing them to exploit the awesome potential of the bomber in its ever-expanding roles, in combination with precision-guided munitions," said Boeing B-1 Program Director Mike Harris.
Other B-1 upgrades completed over the past year include a Boeing team's integration of a Lockheed Martin-built targeting pod on the aircraft. The pod was deployed in theater and is performing well, according to Air Force reports.
The multimission B-1 has been carrying the largest strike payload in the Air Force inventory since its combat debut in 1999. Its low radar cross-section, variable-geometry wings, advanced avionics, and afterburning engines combine to provide long range, maneuverability, high speed and survivability.
B-1 aircraft delivered more tonnage of ordnance with fewer sorties than any other aircraft while supporting Operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. It continues to perform with distinction in Afghanistan and Iraq today, providing real-time, precise, persistent, flexible support to troops on the ground.