Oklahoma base fixing some of Air Force’s grounded bombers
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Part of the U.S. Air Force’s recently grounded bomber fleet is currently undergoing maintenance at Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base.
The commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command ordered a “safety stand down” of all B-1B Lancers last week. The order came after an emergency landing in Texas last month prompted an investigation revealing problems with the long-range bomber’s ejection seats, the Oklahoman reported .
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex “will comply with the safety stand down requirements and ensure each aircraft is inspected and deemed safe to return to flight,” said Jerry Bryza, spokesman for the 72nd Air Base Wing.
The B-1B Lancer is a weapon system that can hit speeds of 900-plus mph (1,448-plus kph), according to the Air Force. The bomber has served the Air Force since 1985 and was first used in combat in 1998. B-1s flew less than 1 percent of combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, but delivered 43 percent of the Joint Direct Attack Munitions used, according to the Air Force.
The fleet has 62 bombers, all located at Tinker, Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Edwards Air Force Base in California, and overseas.
Global Strike Command spokeswoman Linda Frost declined to say how many are at each site for security reasons. She said not all of the bombers are affected by the ejection seat issue, and officials are still working to determine the affected planes based on specific lot numbers.
Frost said the investigation is ongoing and that it’s too soon to determine how long the stand down will last. But she said returning B-1s to flight is the command’s top priority.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com