B-1 Fleet Grounded After Inspection Identified Issues with Drogue Chute System

A USAF B-1B Lancer bomber and a Qatari Mirage 2000 fly in formation during Joint Air Defense Exercise 19-01 on Feb. 19, 2019. The aircraft participated with regional partners to test objective-based command and control actions during the exercise. Air Force photo by SSgt. Clayton Cupit.

Air Force Global Strike Command on Thursday grounded its B-1B Lancer fleet, for the second time within a year.

During a “routine inspection” of the B-1’s drogue chute system, “potentially fleet-wide issues were identified with the rigging,” AFGSC said in a statement announcing the “safety stand down.” The issue appears to be “procedural” and is not related to the egress system problems that grounded the Lancer fleet last year.

AFGSC did not say how widespread the issue is, or how long the grounding could last. As inspections are completed and any issues are resolved, the aircraft will return to flight.

In June 2018, the command grounded the B-1 fleet after discovering issues with ejection seat components in the aftermath of a May 1 emergency landing of a B-1 assigned to Dyess AFB, Texas. In that incident, pictures of the B-1 on the ground showed an open hatch above the weapons systems officer’s position, indicating a possible attempt to eject. That crew received a Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions in the incident. The 2018 grounding lasted about three weeks.