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On Dec 7/07 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Saudi Arabia's request for 40 of Lockheed Martin's AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Advanced Targeting Pods, which would replace the older LANTIRN twin-pod systems installed on Saudi F-15S Strike Eagles
A fourth wave of inspections has begun on US Air Force Boeing F-15 Eagles as it widens the search for fatigue cracking. So far cracks have been found in the fuselage longerons of eight F-15C fighters.
This will be the third time USAF F-15A-D fighters have gone through checks, but even if cleared they will not return flight until after investigation of the 2 November crash of an F-15C due to structural failure is completed.
F-15E Strike Eagles have been returned to flight, and Air Combat Command says 222 of its 224 E models have been inspected and cleared for operations. The remaining two are in depot maintenance.
Originally posted by Harlequin
nearly up to 10% now
Air Force inspectors have discovered major structural flaws in eight older-model F-15 fighters, sparking a new round of examinations that could ground all of the older jets into January or beyond, senior Air Force and defense officials said
Some outside analysts have said that the F-15 problems can be fixed and that the extra F-22s are unnecessary. "I don't suspect that the Air Force is lying when it says it has discovered stress fractures in the longerons of the F-15s," said Winslow Wheeler, an expert at the Center for Defense Information and a longtime opponent of purchasing additional F-22s. "But there's no big deal about that. Fix it."
created by the F-15 A-D grounding. With the F-15s in Massachusetts out of commission, the Vermont Air National Guard (ANG) is covering the whole Northeast. The Oregon ANG's fighters are grounded, so the California Air National Guard is standing watch for the entire West Coast plus slices of Arizona and Nevada. To meet that need, the Fresno, CA based 144th Fighter Wing has had to borrow F-16s from bases in Indiana and Arizona and trim back training.
The Minnesota ANG is manning sites in Hawaii, while the Illinois ANG covers Louisiana. In Alaska, the new F-22 Raptors are stepping in – and so are Canadian CF-18s, which have intercepted several Russian bombers near Alaska in recent weeks.
About 60% of the US Air Force's fleet of 442 Boeing F-15A-D Eagle fighters have been cleared to return to flight after more than two months of stand-downs and structural inspections.....
"Additionally, approximately 40% of inspected aircraft have at least one longeron that does not meet blueprint specifications," says ACC. These aircraft have longerons that are thinner in places than specified in the original manufacturing drawings......
Because of the prolonged grounding, about 75% of US Air Force and Air National Guard F-15A-D pilots have lost their currency. "Another week and it would have been 100%," says ACC. The F-15 grounding has been the longest for any USAF post-war jet fighter.
Cracks were found in nine other F-15s where machining during manufacture had reduced the thickness of the longeron web below blueprint specification or where there is surface roughness that could cause stress concentration.
"I have a fleet that is 100% fatigued, and 40% of that has bad parts. The long-term future of the F-15 is in question," says Gen John Corley, commander of Air Combat Command. "The problem is systemic and goes beyond the F-15," he says, citing fatigue issues with A-10s and F-16s.
While the USAF has not decided which, if any, aircraft will be repairs, Warner Robins is manufacturing an initial batch of 15 longerons at a cost of $15,000. Owen says replacement of the longeron in an aircraft will cost $250,000.
While 260 US Air Force F-15A to –D fighters have returned to flight, over 40% of the fleet have faulty parts and may not fly again.
More troubling, however, were the findings of a parallel examination that determined as many as 163 of the workhorse F-15s also have the flawed beams, called longerons. The aircraft remain grounded as the Air Force tries to determine how broad the problem is and whether fixes should be made. Another 19 of the aircraft have yet to be inspected and also remain grounded.
On 2 November, 2007, a Missouri Air National Guard Boeing F-15C had just entered a mock dogfight when the pilot felt something was wrong with his aircraft. Seconds later, the Eagle broke in two and the pilot ejected from a tumbling cockpit.
Using HUD camera recordings and other data, the US Air Force has reconstructed the circumstances surrounding the accident, which occurred during routine basic fighter manoeuvre (BFM) training involving four F-15s.
The mishap aircraft, serial number 80-0034 and call sign Mick 2
HONOLULU — A fighter jet among a troubled fleet of F-15s that recently returned to the skies plunged into the ocean Friday, but the pilot ejected in time and was rescued shortly afterward.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
He was doing a routine training flight near Diamond Head, and was flying under normal conditions, and lost altitude.
Cause of the crash was being investigated.
Lee said the plane had experienced no problems during a routing training exercise earlier in the day.