Eurofighter: Air Force Flight Operations Currently Not Affected By Flight Hours Reduction
(Source: German Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 30, 2014)
(Issued in German; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
A manufacturing defect that could cause airframe cracks to form has led the German air force to suspend Eurofighter deliveries, and to reduce the service life of the fighters already in service to 1,500 flight hours. (Eurofighter photo)
BERLIN --- Industry has established, in the context of quality controls. that a manufacturing defect has caused a large number of small holes in the rear fuselage of Eurofighter aircraft
The reasons for this are inadequate finishing by the manufacturer BAE Systems.
Since the impact of these problems on the life of the airframe cannot be predicted, a reduction of flight hours recommended by industry was introduced as an additional safety measure. With immediate effect, the service life of the Eurofighter aircraft has been halved, from 3,000 flight hours to 1,500 flight hours.
The manufacturing defect described has, according to industry, no impact on the current flight safety and operational capability of the Eurofighter weapon system. Training and deployment operations continue to be assured.
To avoid any disadvantages and to protect the rights of the Ministry of Defense as a result of this under-performance, acceptance of further aircraft was suspended pending resolution of the commercial aspects of this issue.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A German air force spokesman told Defense-Aerospace.com Oct. 1 that the problem is caused by splinters that could eventually cause cracks in the airframe.
However, as German Eurofighters will not reach the reduced 1,500-hour lifetime until 2018, the Ministry of Defence is not unduly worried sine the aircraft remain airworthy.
The Eurofighter’s design service life is 6,000 flight hours, and is due to be gradually extended beyond the previous 3,000-hour limit as flight data accumulates.
However, it has suspended all Eurofighter deliveries, and will not resume them until the problem is fully investigated and fixed, the spokesman said.
He added the problem had come to light at the end of last week, when the air force was notified by letter by the manufacturer, Airbus Defence and Space.
Neither BAE Systems nor Eurofighter GmbH had responded to our request for comment by 12:00 GMT today.)
Eurofighter Has Manufacturing Fault: Germany
(Source: Business Insider; published Sep. 30, 2014)
BERLIN --- A manufacturing fault has been discovered in the Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes, Germany said Tuesday, announcing it was suspending deliveries of the sophisticated jets.
The news was another blow to the troubled and costly Eurofighter programme -- and raised concerns over the use of the planes.
According to Germany's defence ministry, the defect discovered was in the rear fuselage of the twin-engine multirole fighter.
As a result, Berlin has decided to cut the time its Eurofighters spend in the air each year in half, from 3,000 hours to 1,500 hours.
The news website Spiegel Online reported that, in the worst case scenario, the fault could result in the plane's hull becoming unstable.
It said Britain's Royal Air Force first detected the defect and also decided to halve the annual flight hours so as not to overstress the jets.
Germany and Britain each have more than 100 of the Eurofighter Typhoons in service. Spiegel said Germany's air force operates 109 of the jets.
The Eurofighter is built by a consortium comprising European airplane maker Airbus, Britain's BAE Systems and Finmeccanica of Italy.
Germany and Britain had already halved their initial orders for 250 the fighter jets each, and several export bids have fallen through, prompting the head of Airbus's defence division to say production could cease in 2018 if no more contracts came through.
In June, a Eurofighter crashed while coming into land in southwest Spain, killing its 30-year-old pilot. The cause was unknown.