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Errors in the procurement of the F/A-18

In the West of Switzerland, the five fighter-jet manufacturer is currently the muscles. In a week Boeing is the Super Hornet. Its predecessor, the F/A-18 Hornet, prepares defence Minister Viola Amherd break a lot of head: Repeated concern occurred causing cracks. Spare parts do not fit and lead to maintenance problems. Furthermore, it is shown that in the case of the procurement of thirty years ago, on an important test has been omitted.

flashback: at the Evaluation of the F/A-18 in the early 90s, the experts noted that the Jets would be claimed due to the Swiss topography, three times stronger than the US manufacturer. In the production of combat aircraft, the Swiss use, therefore, some titanium instead of aluminium, you can modify per-machine 70 structural components, reinforcing and 800 Connections, and revise 1800 holes – with the aim to make the Hornets for the life span of 5000 hours of flight fit.

The 34 enhanced F/A-18 will be intermediate passed in 1996 and 1999, the air force. But the planes are much earlier than expected fatigue – caused, among other things, due to vibration, its effects had not been tested during production. Affected are the tail and the outer wing parts. According to a public lecture by an engineer from the Swiss Federal office for defence (Armasuisse) at the ETH Zurich. A film sequence shows the distinctive, non-consideration of the vibrations of the v-shaped rudders in the air combat.

Four crashes this situation, exacerbated

How to read the documents of the presentation, the responsible thirty years ago, estimated the value of these vibrations and their effect on the Material. The Jets have aged faster than expected. A year ago, a mechanic discovered, for example, a broken hinge on the flap of a machine, to which all the Hornets reviewed, and five of them had to stay for several months on the ground. The loss of four F/A-18 crashes also increased the load on the remaining 30 machines.

Not only is the past catching up with the fighters , air force chief Bernhard Müller is also the most recent developments: Currently, the F/A-18 fleet is reduced to only available. "It is unclear how long have we been with less aircraft have to do," says Müller. He has informed that is why VBS-head Amherd and the security policy Commission of the Parliament (SIK).

the reason for the reduced availability of maintenance work on the fighter aircraft to extend their service life. Because: After the Gripen-no, the Hornets don't have to cope with as provided 5000 hours of flight time, but 6000. The Parliament has spoken for life extension measures 450 million Swiss francs. The F/A-18 will be taken for the first time completely apart. As a prototype, already a fighter jet has passed through the first part of a two-stage maintenance process at the state-owned technology group Ruag – which lasted for four months. Based on this period of time, calculated the experts of the maintenance of the entire fleet.

now that the next five F/A-18 are in the workshop, were discovered unexpected "problem areas". "We have not found that they are identical." For example, fit for spare holes do not match with parts of the aircraft structure. Also, the rivets had not been processed in the production of the Jets in a professional manner.

For the mechanics are delayed, the Jets pure miracle bags

the 34 Hornets for the mechanic to grab bags, what is the maintenance work in an erratic way. "We don't know how the other pilot's appearance," says Müller. That's not enough: "it is also Unclear what will promote the second part of the maintenance programme to the fore."

The air force chief is not in the position to make a forecast of how it will be in the coming months the availability of the fleet. He is convinced, however, that Parliament has authorized 450 million Swiss francs will be sufficient, in spite of the complications. "We expect neither a greater need for workers, even with the extra material costs."

tells How to Armasuisse, should be expected by 2024, with restrictions. The extent to which the current maladministration associated with the non-conducted vibration testing, is not clear. It also remains unclear what the financial consequences of this failure remain relationship appropriate issues remained to this editorial go unanswered.

Josef Dittli, FDP Council of States and President of the SIK, shows itself to be "concerned" about the vulnerability of the F/A-18 fleet. "We are at the threshold of pain, the next event we have a Problem," he says. It could not be that constant little machines were available. Dittli calls: "Go on, you need to work out the responsible for the concrete measures." For example, Ruag had to increase their capacity, in order to make the repairs go faster forward. "Or the air force would have to reduce their operation to office hours."

This Text is from the current issue. Now all of the articles in the E-Paper of the Sunday newspaper, read: App for iOS App for Android – Web-App (Sunday newspaper)

Created: 20.04.2019, 22:53 PM

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