The Air Force grounded its fleet of B-1B Lancer bombers Thursday because of concerns with its ejection seat, Global Strike Command said in a statement.
Air Force leaders discovered an issue with the ejection seat components during an emergency landing of a B-1 in Midland, Texas, which led to the safety stand down, the command said in a statement.
Photos of the May 1 incident showed at least one of the four escape hatches blew, but one of the ejection seats did not launch, Military Times reported. Four crewmen landed safely.
The Air Force has not said when the supersonic, swing-wing jets may return to flight. The bombers carry the largest conventional payload compared to the B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit bomber fleet.
Global Strike Command has not set a date for the B-1 to return to operations.
“It’s too soon to determine a definitive timeline,” said Louella DeLee, a command spokesperson. “Returning the B1-B Lancers to operation is a top priority.”
The jets are based at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Edwards AFB, Calif.; and Dyess AFB, Texas, and routinely fly missions around the world.
A safety investigation to prevent future mishaps is ongoing, the Air Force said.
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