B-1B Lancer bombers grounded to check fuel filter leak

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WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber fleet was indefinitely grounded this week due to a malfunctioning fuel filter.

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command chief, ordered the temporary grounding of the B-1 due to problems found in the fuel pump filter housing.

Afterburners can double the plane’s available thrust and are needed during takeoffs, emergencies and certain aerial maneuvers.

Officials said a large hole was discovered in one of the plane’s filter housing after it landed, which could cause the loss of the plane’s afterburners, known as augmented thrust.

Afterburners can double the plane’s available thrust and are needed during takeoffs, emergencies and certain aerial maneuvers.

“As a precautionary measure, the commander directed one-time inspections on all B-1B aircraft to resolve this issue,” a command statement issued on April 23 said.

Each plane will be examined for potential problems, and will be returned to service individually.

Reports note that a failure of the augmenter pump filter housing occurred on a different B1-B in 2018.

Also in 2018, the Air Force grounded the B-1 fleet due to concerns with the ejection seats.

Plans call for the Air Force to phase out the B-1s, in use since the 1980s, and replace them with the new B-21 stealth bomber.

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