BERN --- The F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft of the Swiss Air Force have been subjected to inspections, following the recent discovery of cracks. Three additional aircraft are involved, and have been grounded pending further investigation.
A cracked hinge was found on a landing flap of an F / A-18C during an intermediate check. It was then decided, as a precautionary measure, to submit all F/A-18C/D of the Air Force to inspections of the hinges (see Jan. 31 press release), to ensure the aircraft's airworthiness and safety.
Inspection of the hinges in question revealed cracks on three other aircraft. The problem therefore concerns altogether two F/A-18C single-seaters and two F/A-18D two-seaters. These airplanes are immobilized while awaiting a thorough analysis.
In all, 23 aircraft were examined in recent days at Meiringen and Payerne airbases. Seven more F / A-18s are currently at RUAG Aviation for maintenance, and will also be inspected in due course.
An in-depth analysis, which is required, has already been launched. It is not possible at this time to comment on the replacement of the parts in question, the cost of such an operation, or the time at which these aircraft will be able to return to the Air Force flight service.
The control of the hinges was carried out using a special device to detect even the finest cracks, as part of a so-called non-destructive analysis of microstructures. The cracks discovered were indeed not visible to the naked eye.
The Air Police Service (PA24) and Air Force commitments are again fully insured.
Repercussions are possible on the flight service for training and training, but they can be estimated only after the end of all analyzes currently in progress.