The U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) commander ordered a safety stand-down of the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber fleet from June 7, 2018.
During the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1B Lancer in Midland, Texas, an issue with ejection seat components was discovered that necessitated the stand-down. According to a statement from the AFGSC, the aircraft will return to flight as issues get resolved.
The Safety Investigation Board is ongoing. The SIB’s purpose is to prevent future mishaps or losses and is comprised of experts who investigate the incident and recommend corrective actions. The statement added that the safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority and the Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes.
Rockwell B-1B Lancer
Rockwell B-1B Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). It is commonly called the “Bone” (originally from “B-One”).
It is one of three strategic bombers in the USAF fleet as of 2017, the other two being the B-2 Spirit “Stealth Bomber”, and the B-52 Stratofortress long-range bomber.
Originally developed to carry atomic weapons, the bomber — converted to its exclusively conventional combat role in the mid-1990s — is no longer nuclear-capable. It can, however, carry the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the USAF’s inventory.
The bomber first served in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and again during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B has supported U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Air Force had 66 B-1Bs in service as of September 2012. The B-1B is expected to continue to serve into the 2030s, with the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider to begin replacing the B-1B after 2025.
Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC)
Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) is a Major Command (MAJCOM) of the U.S. Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. AFGSC provides combat-ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders. It is subordinated to the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).
Air Force Global Strike Command is the direct descendant unit of the Cold War-era Strategic Air Command (SAC). It holds the lineage, history and honors of SAC.