US temporarily grounds all B-1 bombers

Washington, June 9 (IANS) The US Air Force has grounded all B-1B Lancer bombers, a major component of Washington’s long range bombing fleet, for safety reasons.

“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 on Friday.

The order was issued on Thursday, reports CNN.

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.

“As these issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight… The safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority,” Russell added.

The highly versatile, supersonic B-1 carries the largest conventional payload of any aircraft in the US Air Force. It does not carry nuclear weapons.

The B-1 bombers were used in the US 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.

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