A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber caught fire while on the flight line at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas on Wednesday night and the incident was caught on camera. Two people were injured during the incident.
Footage of the incident was first shared to the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page and showed nearly the entire aircraft engulfed in flames.
In a Thursday press statement, the base confirmed that the bomber caught fire during routine engine maintenance while parked on the flight line. The base said emergency personnel responded immediately and contained the fire.
Two individuals were injured in the incident and were taken to Hendrick Medical Center South with non-life-threatening injuries. They have since been released.
The 7th Bomb Wing serves as the host unit at Dyess Air Force Base and oversees the B-1B bomber operations.
“We are so grateful that all members of Team Dyess involved have been treated and are now safely back at home,” said Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing commander. “Thank you to our first responders who arrived immediately on scene and executed a real-world emergency response with the same level of professionalism and proficiency as they do in training.”
The 7th Bomb Wing is part of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). AFGSC is responsible for all three U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile wings, and the Air Force’s entire bomber force, including all B-52, B-1 and B-2 wings.
“Our B-1 fleet and warfighters remain ready to execute any long-range strike mission,” Kramer said.
The exact cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
Almost exactly a year ago, the Air Force grounded all B-1Bs after a bomber was seen trailing unburned fuel when it landed. An inspection revealed a hole in the bomber’s Augmenter Fuel Pump Filter Housing, and all other B-1Bs were ordered to undergo a one-time inspection to determine if they had a similar issue.
According to an Air Force fact sheet, the B-1B first entered service with the Air Force in 1986. The bomber began its service life as a nuclear-capable aircraft, but the Air Force decided in 1994 to do away with its nuclear mission but didn’t fully switch to its conventional weapons-only roll until 2007.
The B-1B has a top speed of 900 miles per hour (Mach 1.2), outpacing the B-52 Stratofortress and the B-2 Spirit. The B-1B can also carry a payload of 75,000 pounds, outweighing the B-52 and B-2 payloads.
The B-1B holds almost 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class.
The B-1B is now approaching the end of its service life with the U.S. Air Force. Northrop Grumman is building the B-21 Raider to replace the Air Force B-1s and B-2s.