The US Air Force (USAF) has issued an order to ground its fleet of B-1B Lancer strategic bomber aircraft over safety concerns.

On 28 March, the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) commander directed a safety stand-down caused by an issue with egress system components.

In a statement, AFGSC said: “During a routine inspection of the B-1B drogue chute system, potentially fleet-wide issues were identified with the rigging of the drogue chute.

“It appears to be a procedural issue and is unrelated to the previous problem with egress system components. As a precautionary measure, the commander directed a holistic inspection of the entire egress system.”

“The airforce noted that the precautionary step was taken to ensure the safety of airmen, which is its top priority.”

During the grounding, aircrew flight equipment technicians will perform thorough inspections on each bomber.

After resolving the potential issues, if any, the aircraft will resume flight operations.

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The airforce noted that the precautionary step was taken to ensure the safety of airmen, which is its top priority.

The B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber. Built by Boeing, the aircraft has been in service with the USAF since 1985.

This is the second time that the fleet’s flight operations were suspended.

In June 2018, USAF Global Strike Command commander general Robin Rand ordered the safety stand-down of the B-1B fleet over issues with ejection seat components.

The aircraft fleet resumed flight operations following an investigation carried out by the Safety Investigation Board (SIB).