Air Force grounds B-1 bombers

Local News

This story has been updated to include a statement from the United States Air Force.

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (KELO) — We are following a developing story involving Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The Air Force has grounded its fleet of B-1 bombers after an incident at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Global Strike Command ordered the stand down after a B-1 experienced an emergency relating to a hole in a “fuel pump filter housing” earlier this month.

The grounding was first reported by the “Warzone.”

The problem could prevent the jets from using their afterburners. The entire fleet of bombers will be inspected and returned to service one at a time.

Keefer B. Patterson, a spokesperson with the Air Force, reached out to KELOLAND News to provide the following statement.

“The Air Force Global Strike Command commander, Gen. Tim Ray, ordered a safety stand-down of the B-1B Lancer fleet April 20. The safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority. During the inspection process following a B-1B ground emergency on April 8 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, a discrepancy with an Augmenter Fuel Pump Filter Housing was discovered. As a precautionary measure, the commander directed one-time inspections on all B-1B aircraft to resolve this issue. After further analysis, the commander stood down the fleet because it was determined a more invasive inspection was needed to ensure the safety of aircrews. Individual aircraft will return to flight when they are deemed safe to fly by Air Force officials. The Air Force takes all incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes. More details may be released when available. Air Force Global Strike bombers will continue supporting combatant commands across the globe.”

Keefer B. Patterson, Civ, USAF
Chief, Command Information

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