Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The last of 60 cockpit conversions of B-1B Lancer to Integrated Battle Station status, an eight-year project, has been completed the, U.S. Air Force announced.
The modifications involved over a million man-hours since they began in 2012. Despite the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the work was completed ahead of schedule.
"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," Rodney Shepard, 567th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., said in a statement.
This includes "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," Shepard said.
The IBS includes three upgrades, and giving the B-1B cockpit a new look. Among the upgrades are the Fully Integrated Data Link to allow the planes to communicate with other planes in the air, and improvements to the Central Integrated System, which allows maintenance personnel to trouble shoot problems.
A new Vertical Station Display Upgrade also replaces monochrome pilot and copilot displays with four multifunctional color displays to provide better situational awareness data in a user-friendly format.
The planes are based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
A supersonic heavy bomber with a variable-sweep wing, the B-1B was introduced in 1986 and is one of three strategic bombers in use by the U.S. Air Force.