The United States Air Force grounded its entire fleet of B1-B bombers after discovering a problem with the plane’s fuel system.
That costs a third of the Air Force’s entire fleet of bombers.
General Tim Ryan, commander of the Global Strike Command, said on Tuesday he ordered “a security stop.”
The decision was made following an ‘ground emergency’ on April 8 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota – one of two bases where the B1-B is currently housed. The other is Dyess Air Force Base, in Texas.
The troubled aircraft, which first entered service under Ronald Reagan, is expected to be phased out by 2030.
In the most recent incidents, engineers discovered which defense website The war zone It was said that there was a ‘huge hole’ in the filter housing through which a large amount of fuel leaked.
The entire fleet of B1-B bombers, 45 in all, has been grounded due to fuel problems
A B1-B bomber is seen April 19 at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas
General Tim Ryan, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, confirmed the news
The site reported that the plane that sparked the concern, identified as 86-0104, had left a large plume of unburnt fuel on landing.
Afterburners, which are required for additional thrust, especially on takeoff, will not operate if the filter housing is not operational.
Ryan confirmed in his statement that “a discrepancy with an Augmenter Fuel Pump Filter Housing was discovered.”
He said they had grounded the entire fleet upon further investigation.
“Individual aircraft will return to flight when considered safe to fly by Air Force officials,” he said.
Ryan did not say how many planes were in the fleet, but the B1-B has been plagued with problems for years.
A mechanic inspects a B1-B bomber at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in 2011
Of the 100 aircraft built, the United States Air Force decided in 2001 to retire 33 to pay for its modernization efforts. In February, 17 more retired, meaning the force was only 45, it said FlightGlobal.
A year earlier, in April 2020, Major General Larry Stutzriem (retired) and Douglas Birkey had warned that the US bomber was in crisis.
They signed up at the end of the Cold War DefenseNews.comthe USAF owned 400 bombers designed to fight the Soviet Union. They said the number had dropped to just 157 by April 2020 – down to 140, since the 17 B1-Bs retired in February.
The United States Air Force operates B-1s, B-2s and B-52s and is one of only three countries with bombers.
Russia, according to a February report of the Center for Naval Analysis, has 127 SU-34 fighter-bombers and one or two TU-160 strategic bombers.
China is by far the leader in bombers, according to a new count of plane spotters Thomas Shugart, quoted by Forbes in November.
Shugart discovered that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force owns as many as 231 H-6s.
The B1-B supersonic bomber known as the ‘Bone’ entered service in 1985.
The crew of a B1-B bomber is pictured at Dyess base in Texas on April 19
It was designed to fly at a minimum speed of Mach 0.85 and as low as 200 feet, using terrain tracking and terrain avoidance radar, in pervasive nuclear strikes against the Soviet Union.
Its low altitude and nap-of-the-earth flight profile was intended to avoid detection by Soviet ground radar.
In 1994, when the Cold War was over, the Air Force shut down the B-1B’s nuclear mission.
The bomber found new work with the start of the 2001 War on Terror, with air support missions for the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But those missions, which involved slow wing-forwarding – not swept, as intended for penetration attacks – overloaded the B-1B’s wings and caused cracks, the USAF said.
Due to the wear and tear of the B-1 fleet over the past two decades, servicing these bombers would cost tens of millions of dollars per plane to return to the status quo. And that’s just to fix the issues we know about, ” Ray said on February 17th.
“We are only speeding up the planned retirement.”
In August 2019, General John Hyten, the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that only six of their 62 B1-Bs were fully operational.
In April 2019, Ray had warned that the Air Force had “ overloaded ” aircraft in the Middle East.
The B1-Bs were used extensively in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Flying missions against ISIS in the opening days of Operation Inherent Resolve, they were able to carry more ammunition than that supplied by an entire air wing of an aircraft carrier.
“We saw problems in the B1-Bs because we just beat them up – deploy them, deploy them,” Hyten said.
He said they should “pull back a little” and fix the planes where possible.
The B1-Bs went aground in June and March 2019 due to problems with the ejection seats.