Embedded Computers: B-1B Computers Must Be Upgraded to Support Conventional Requirements.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC ACCOUNTING AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT DIV
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At the request of the Subcommittee on Military Research and Development, House Committee on National Security, the General Accounting Office GAO has reviewed the Air Forces efforts to upgrade the computers and software for the B-1B Bomber Conventional Mission Upgrade Program CMUP. GAOs National Security and International Affairs Division is studying other aspects of the B-1B and the role of bombers for specific missions. This letter discusses recent decisions the Air Force has made in upgrading the B-1Bs embedded computer systems in view of concerns GAO raised during our review. Details on GAOs scope and methodology are in appendix I. The 2.7 billion CMUP program is intended to convert the B-1B from a primarily nuclear weapons carrier to a conventional weapons carrier. If the B-1B is to be the backbone of the bomber fleet, as Defense envisions it, then upgrading the computers and software is critical to achieving the new conventional capabilities for the B-1B. As with other older weapons systems, the 1970s vintage computer systems embedded in the B-1B are operating at near capacity and, without upgrades, cannot support additional weapons and capabilities, which are to include cluster bombs, a global positioning system for improved navigation and guidance, and more accurate and increased-range weapons. In addition, because the software used in the B-1B is complex, poorly documented, and has been extensively modified over the years, it is difficult and expensive to maintain. The Air Force recognized that in order to support the additional B-1B capabilities, the computer systems must be modernized.
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