The software upgrades will include improvements for transmitting video and targeting information from the targeting pod to friendly forces, and reduce flight crew workload. Boeing officials say the new technology will enable better close air support for ground troops and prepare the versatile aircraft for future enhancements of the flight crew's situational awareness.
"This contract includes full integration of the SNIPER targeting pod, allowing the B-52 to have one of the most advanced targeting capabilities available for our warfighters," says Cathy Clothier, B-52 deputy program manager for Boeing. "Continuing to make upgrades and advancements to this platform is critical as we help the Air Force keep the B-52 as a relevant and viable asset now and into the future."
Under the contract Boeing officials will also develop software that takes advantage of new technologies such as the B-52 Multi-Function Color Display and a digital-integrated hand controller.
Tests on the new targeting capabilities will begin next year with fleet integration expected by 2010. Software integration, interface design, and installation will take place at Boeing's Wichita, Kan., facility.