The first group of B-1B Lancer bombers are returning to flying duties after a maintenance problem last month prompted Air Force officials to ground the fleet, officials said.
Gen. Tim Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, ordered the safety stand down on April 20 after maintenance crews discovered a discrepancy with a filter housing on the fuel pump of one of the B-1B bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
“We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and B-1 partners in identifying, inspecting and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B fuel filter housing,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Eighth Air Force commander.
Air Force maintenance crews disassembled the Augmenter Fuel Filter Housing on each B-1 Lancer and performed a series of detailed inspections. Each bomber was returned to service after each unit was determined to be free of defects, Air Force officials said.
“The aircraft are still safe to fly and we are confident that this stand down has resulted in increased safety within the B-1B fleet,” Maj. Gen. Weatherington said.
Based at Ellsworth and Dyess Air Force Bases in Texas, B-1B Lancers took part in several air campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were deployed against the Islamic State in Syria and flown near the DMZ in Korea in a show of force in response to North Korea’s test of an ICBM reportedly capable of striking Alaska.