US Air Force temporarily grounds all B-1 bombers

Safety concerns over ejection seat brings action

By RYAN BROWNE
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A United States Air Force B-1B Lancer lands at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Air Force has grounded all B-1B Lancer bombers, a major component of the U.S. long-range bombing fleet, for safety reasons, the Air Force said 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 7.

"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 U.S. Air Force. It does not carry nuclear weapons.

The B-1 bombers were featured in the U.S. strikes against Syria's chemical weapons facilities in April.

Two US Air Force officials told 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."

Copyright 2018 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.