B-1B Integrated Battle Station modification is complete

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hailey Staker
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
An eight-year project to install the Integrated Battle Station on 60 B-1B Lancers was completed in September 2020, ahead of schedule, with Ellsworth Air Force Base receiving its first upgraded B-1 in 2016.

The Integrated Battle Station upgrade combined three modifications: a Fully Integrated Data Link, Vertical Situational Display Unit and Central Integrated Test System.

“This upgrade drastically improves aircrew situational awareness with color displays, as well as enhanced navigation and communication systems. It significantly enhances B-1B mission readiness,” said Col. Daniel Hoadley, the 28th Bomb Wing vice commander. “With the IBS, our aircrews are also able to integrate seamlessly with coalition forces and allied nations, ensuring combat power – anytime, anywhere.”

These upgrades were completed by the 567th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and amounted to more than 1 million man hours over the eight-year period.

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

Since implementing the upgrade in 2016, the 28th Bomb Wing has employed these modified B-1s on Bomber Task Force deployments and Dynamic Force Employment missions.

“The IBS upgrade provides a great deal of situational awareness and improved capabilities, not only outside of the jet with any other players we integrate with, but also inside among the crew,” said Capt. Michael Webster, a 37th Bomb Squadron flight commander. “Inside of the jet, with all of the crew-members now having access to and the ability to manipulate the same information, it allows for more lethal execution of the mission and better crew decision making.”

Having recently returned from a Bomber Task Force deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Webster stated that these added capabilities have been remarkable.

“Multiple times throughout the BTF the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron integrated with Japanese fighters, as well as F-16 [Fighting Falcons] and EA-18G [Growlers] flying out of Japan,” Webster said. “With Link-16, we can keep track of other air players, as well as have greater awareness of what they are executing against, which makes us a more lethal platform.”

Webster added that B-1 aircrews can lean forward with the immediate knowledge that they are clearing the air picture and suppressing enemy defenses.

“When integrating with the Navy, we were able to pass Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and dynamic maritime strikes completely digitally,” Webster said. “Once the dynamic targets are passed, the mechanism inside the jet to cue the sensors, assign the weapons, and employ against the target is incredibly fast.”

The 567th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is hosting a Sunset Ceremony Sept. 25, 2020 in Bldg. 2122, Dock 4 at 1 p.m. The ceremony will be live streamed on Tinker AFB Facebook - look for “events” at this link: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerAirForceBase/.