The U.S. Air Force is grounding its B-1B bombers over a mechanical issue with the plane’s “drogue chute.” It’s the second time in almost a year and a half in which a temporary stand-down order was announced for the planes.
The problem is with the parachute feature connected with the pilot's ejection seat.
Reports said a routine inspection by airmen on one aircraft found a rigged "drogue chute" incorrectly installed. That raised concerns that the issue could affect other planes.
Currently, there are 62 B-1B Lancer bombers in the branch’s flight inventory. It is also referred by its nickname, the “Bone.”
The grounding should only last a “few weeks,” and no more than a month, according to officials.
The plane has been used extensively in Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq, launching long-range cruise missiles. It is not a nuclear bomber, but rather deploys conventional weapons.
In June 2018, the U.S. fleet was grounded for safety reasons for about three weeks due to an issue with the ejection seat system.
There are currently no B-1 bombers flying overseas, according to defense officials. They are predominantly housed at two domestic bases: Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.