The U.S. Air Force’s B-1B Lancers, which have been grounded since June 7, will return to flight this week, the service announced June 19.

Air Force Global Strike Command said the “safety stand-down” gave it time to evaluate an undisclosed “issue” with ejection-seat components on the supersonic bomber. 

A B-1 releasing a JASSM. Photo: Lockheed Martin.
A B-1 releasing a JASSM. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

“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, who, as commander of the 8th Air Force, oversees the Air Force bomber force.

The Air Force said it found the ejection-seat problem while investigating a B-1B’s emergency landing on May 1 at Midland International Air & Space Port in Midland, Texas (Defense Daily, June 8). The bomber, which was assigned to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, had four crew members aboard, and no injuries were reported.

The Air Force has a fleet of 62 B-1Bs located at Dyess, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and other places. Also called “The Bone,” the B-1B was built by what is now part of Boeing [BA], and it achieved its initial operational capability in 1986.