The US Air Force has grounded all B-1B Lancer bombers, a major component of the US long range bombing fleet, for safety reasons, the Air Force revealed on Friday.
“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,” Air Force spokesman Major William Russell said in a statement. The order was issued June 7th.
“As these issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight,” Russell said.
The highly versatile, supersonic B-1 carries the largest conventional payload of any aircraft in the US Air Force. It does not carry nuclear weapons.
The B-1 bombers were featured in the US strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons facilities in April.
Two US Air Force officials shared with CNN that although B-1s are currently deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan would not be impacted.
The grounding of the B-1s was first reported by Military.com
The Air Force said the investigation is to “to prevent future mishaps or losses” and that it would be led by experts who will investigate the incident and recommend corrective actions.
“The safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority,” Russell said in the statement. “The Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes.”