According to a recent United States Air Force news release, Sustainable Block 16A software upgrades that will provide enhancements to the recently added glass cockpit configuration aboard the B-1B Lancer are facing ongoing tests at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The glass cockpit is part of the Lancer’s Integrated Battle Station modification that increases Link 16 capabilities, which allow all equipped military aircraft, as well as naval and ground forces, to interact and exchange overall tactical pictures in very short time.
The U.S. Air Force notes the SB 16A configuration will improve situational awareness to all crew members, increasing the maintainability of the B-1B and provide data link capabilities to the field. Software enhancements that have been made include improved integration between the B-1B’s offensive avionics system, various onboard sensors and the data link, which results in improved battle space awareness.
Capt. Carlos Pinedo, a 419 FLTS B-1 Test Pilot and flight commander, says in the release, "The new displays allow aircrew members to seamlessly pass information and accomplish tasks that were once crew-position dependent. The overall result is improved situational awareness and a reduction in crew workload, leading to improved combat effectiveness. The improved sustainability of the B-1B as a result of this program will help maintain the Air Force's long-range strike capability for many years to come."
Integration testing of the software upgrades within the cockpit will attempt to identify any deficiencies as early in the process as possible. SB 16A testing is projected to end in February, 2015.