The U.S. Air Force is considering several modifications to the U.S. B-1 nuclear-capable bomber fleet, the Los Angeles Times reported today (see GSN, July 14).
One possible modification is an upgrade of the bomber’s communication system, which could be conducted through a contract worth as much as $1.5 billion, according to the Times. Air Force officials are also considering upgrades to the B-1’s engines that would double the bomber’s speed.
Already, more than $2 billion have been spent on the B-1 fleet to convert the bomber for use in conventional missions, according to the Times. During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the B-1 was credited with dropping more precision munitions than any other U.S. aircraft.
In addition, during an exercise last month a modified B-2 nuclear-capable bomber simultaneously dropped 80 satellite-guided munitions on 80 separate targets, the Times reported (see GSN, July 11). All 80 bombs hit their targets, according to the Air Force, the first time that so many bombs hit so many targets at once (Peter Pae, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8).