The aircraft, which have been critical to the ‘maximum pressure campaign’ against North Korea, appear to have ‘ejection seat issues.’
According to a new report this afternoon, the Pentagon has ordered all B-1B Lancer bombers to be grounded due to safety concerns related to “ejection seat issues.”
According to Military.com, the stand-down order is a direct result of an emergency landing of a B-1B that suffered “an engine flameout” on May 1 at Midland Airport in Texas. The incident occurred in broad daylight and involved an aircraft from Dyess Air Force Base—located about 150 miles east of Midland—that was not carrying a nuclear payload.
Air Force Global Strike officials told the news website:
“During the safety investigation process … an issue with ejection seat components was discovered the necessitated the stand-down. As these issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight.”
The aircraft involved in the Midland incident didn’t just suffer an engine failure, however. Military.com reports:
“Photos from The Associated Press and Midland Reporter-Telegram also showed the B-1B, tail number 86-0109, was missing a ceiling hatch, leading to speculation an in-flight ejection was attempted.
“The back ceiling hatch, which hovers over either the offensive or defensive weapons systems officer (WSO) depending on mission set, was open, although all four crew members were shown sitting on the Midland flightline in photos.
“Unidentified individuals told the popular Facebook group Air Force Amn/Nco/Snco that the offensive weapons system officer attempted a manual ejection, but the ACES II seat did not blow, leading the crew to make an emergency landing instead. There has been no official corroboration of that information.”
The B1-B Lancer had become a critical component of the U.S. air campaign as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” against North Korea. Those aircraft are generally assigned to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.
Full article: U.S. B-1 Fleet Grounded (TruNews)]
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