According to a statement released by the U.S. Air Force, the B-1B Lancer strike bombers will get a new advanced targeting system to increase capabilities in meeting the challenges of Non-Traditional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (NTISR) in addition to bringing increased precision for strike missions.
A statement from the U.S. Air Forces claims that for the first time since 2000, the B-1B is involved in testing at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee. Tests are currently ongoing to determine the effects a newly-introduced targeting pod for the B-1B would have on stores released from the aircraft.
The tests, which began earlier this year, were requested by an AEDC testing partner, the Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office, based out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. A new targeting pod design has been introduced for the aircraft, and officials in the SEEK EAGLE Office will examine the effects of the new pod on the B-1B Lancer. Tests will be conducted on five different store models at Arnold to determine whether the full-size munitions will cleanly release from the actual bomber during flight. “AFSEO and AEDC engineers are running numerous tests in the wind tunnel to collect data that will allow them to analyze the forces, moments and aerodynamic effects on the store and be able to determine if the trajectories from the aircraft are safe and effective for flight,” said 1st Lt. Johnathan Gutierrez, test manager in the Flight Systems Combined Test Force. “One end goal is to make sure that once a store leaves the aircraft, it moves away from the aircraft and not back towards it in aerodynamic flight.” The targeting pod currently used on the B-1B Lancer has been in place for about 10 years. Gutierrez said the new pod configuration will enhance the avionics of the weapons system, bolstering the aircrew’s ability to locate a target.
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