03:13 GMT +320 June 2018
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    B-1B Lancer

    All US B-1B Bombers Grounded After Mechanical Failure Causes Emergency Landing

    CC0 / United States Air Force / Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III / B-1B Lancer
    Military & Intelligence
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    The US Air Force’s Global Strike Command (AFGSC), tasked with overseeing every bomber fleet in the Air Force, ordered a stand-down for all its B-1B Lancers Thursday amid safety concerns with a component of their ejection seats.

    "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," a Friday AFGSC press release stated. The emergency landing was conducted at Midland International Air and Space Port on May 1. The bombers will return to flight "as issues are resolved [with the] aircraft." 

    The safety issue came mid-flight after a B-1B nicknamed "Bone" took off from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. None of the bomber's four crew members were injured.

    First responders were ready at the runway even before the plane landed, and fire crews are reported to have used fire-retardant foam on the craft as it landed, causing speculation that the plane might have suffered an engine fire.

    Two photographs taken at the scene showed an emergency hatch above the cockpit blown open, which suggests that an ejection was ordered, according to the Air Force Times. Nonetheless, all crew members participated in the emergency landing. 

    Now, the Safety Investigation Board (SIB), a team of experts that works to investigate mishaps and make recommendations on how to prevent future ones, is looking into the matter.

    "The safety of Airmen is the command's top priority. The Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes," the AFGSC statement says.

    Manufactured by Rockwell, now a part of Boeing, the B-1B Lancer entered service with the US Air Force in 1986 as a supersonic, nuclear-capable heavy bomber. Most recently, B-1Bs stationed in Guam have been used to buzz North Korea and have participated in numerous drills in the region. Lancers were also involved in the United States' missile strikes on Syria in April.

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    Tags:
    emergency landing, B-1B Lancer, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), US Air Force
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