All US B-1B Bombers Grounded by Air Force: Here’s Why

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
June 8, 2018USshare

The U.S. Air Force has temporarily grounded all of its B-1B bombers for safety concerns.

“The [Safety Investigation Board’s] purpose is to prevent future mishaps or losses and is comprised of experts who investigate the incident and recommend corrective actions. The safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority,” U.S. Air Force said in a news release. “The Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes.”

A B-1B Lancer made an emergency landing at Midland International Air & Space Port in Texas more than one month ago. Officials determined there was a problem with the plane’s ejection seats.

Four crew members on the bomber were not harmed.

“During the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1B in Midland, Texas, an issue with ejection seat components was discovered that necessitated the stand down,” the release said. “As these issues are resolved aircraft will return to flight,” Russell said.

The supersonic B-1 carries the largest amount of conventional weapons of any U.S. military aircraft, but it does not carry nuclear weapons.

Global Strike commander Gen. Robin Rand ordered the stand-down of the bombers, reported the Air Force Times.

“But the grounding could have a significant, immediate impact on U.S. military combat operations and other activities. In April 2018, some of the Air Force’s more than 60 B-1Bs touched down at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to take over for B-52 bombers that had been flying missions from that base. From there, the Bones have been supporting operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the continuing campaign against the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan,” The Drive reported.

NTD Photo
In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber, right top, flies over the Korean Peninsula with South Korean fighter jets and U.S. fighter jets during the combined aerial exercise, South Korea on Dec. 6, 2017. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

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