The U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) will resume flight operations of the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber fleet this week, following the directed safety stand-down on June 7th.
The AFGSC said in a statement that the stand-down allowed the command time to thoroughly evaluate the egress components and determine potential risks before returning to flight.
“We have high confidence that the fleet’s egress systems are capable and the fleet is ready to return to normal flight operations,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force Commander, responsible for the Air Force bomber force.
The Air Force Global Strike Command commander previously ordered a safety stand-down of the B-1B fleet after a safety investigation showed an issue with egress system components. The investigation is still ongoing.
“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.”, the command said after ordering the stand-down.
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.