Flightline Friday – even more self-serving than usual! August 21, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
But it’s my blog and I can do what I want to.
The 2 people who have read these Flightline Friday posts for a while may remember that I have a “thing” for cockpit instrumentation. Especially night shots of same showing all the cool lights and displays. I don’t, say, get excited about a P-51 Mustang cockpit, because there’s not much to see. But anything from the mid-60s on, when cockpits started to get “modern”……….oh yeah.
Yes, I do need a better hobby.
Anyway there has been an upgrade program ongoing for the backbone of the US bomber fleet, the B-1B “Lancer” or Bone. Designed in the late 70s and produced in the mid-80s, its once advanced cockpit instrumentation has become decidedly antiquated. Actually, in many ways its still very functional, but the problem is, nobody builds small monochrome cathode ray tube screens anymore, and it has become impossible to maintain those currently in service as a result So all the old monochrome CRT displays are being replaced with flat-panel active-matrix liquid crystal displays under a program called the Integrated Battle Station (IBS). The first birds arrived at Dyess near Abilene in early 2014 and I believe most of the fleet has now been upgraded.
So, cockpit pics below. The first two are the B-1 as it was, and the remainder are the new displays (all pics can be clicked for higher res):
Now for the upgrades:
Pretty cool stuff. A couple pics below of how the B-52 looks today for comparison. When the 193 B-52Gs were retired, all the avionics were pulled out of them, including the then-20 year old CRT displays. I guess that’s why the B-52 has not been similarly upgraded, at least at the pilot’s stations, they still have a lot of those old leftover G model displays left.