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US Air Force finding minor issues following B-1B grounding

17 April 2019
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A key US Air Force (USAF) officer has no deep concerns about the viability of the Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bomber following a 28 March grounding.

“I am not finding any major additional significant system issues,” General Timothy Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) chief and US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Air Force Strategic-Air chief, told reporters on 17 April at a breakfast event. “Maybe a little maintenance issue here or there, maybe a part that needs to be replaced.”

The US Air Force is only finding minor issues with the B-1B after the aircraft was grounded on 28 March because of concerns with the aircraft's drogue chute, which guides the ejector seat as it leaves the aircraft. (US Air Force)The US Air Force is only finding minor issues with the B-1B after the aircraft was grounded on 28 March because of concerns with the aircraft's drogue chute, which guides the ejector seat as it leaves the aircraft. (US Air Force)

The USAF has been performing thorough inspections of the aircraft since it grounded the fleet because of a problem with the drogue chute system, which guides the ejector seat when it departs the aircraft. Gen Ray said he did not like what he saw with some of the drogue chute configurations and what he considered a third event in a year. A similar order came after a problem was discovered in June 2018 with the ejector seat of another B-1B.

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