Extraordinary wing replacement on an F/A-18

Bern, 03.05.2016 - Within the next few months, it will be necessary to replace a wing on a Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet due to a disbond in an adhesive joint. The replacement will be carried out during regular maintenance work. Until the wing is replaced, the aircraft involved can continue to be flown with certain restrictions.

The F/A-18 Hornets operated by the Swiss Air Force are inspected at regular intervals. During one such inspection, the joint between the wing and the fuselage of one aircraft was found to have become detached. The defect in this instance was a small separation of the adhesive joint between the titanium coating and the composite material of the wing. Further investigations have shown that it is not possible to repair it, and for this reason, the wing needs to be replaced.

Until its wing is replaced, the aircraft involved will remain operational with certain restrictions. The wing will be replaced in the next few months at RUAG Aviation in Emmen.

Problems associated with aircraft structural fatigue such as disbond in adhesive and cracks are not uncommon in both civil and military aviation; they occur more frequently the longer the aircraft is in service. The Swiss Air Force's F/A-18 Hornet fleet is in the second half of its in-service period and there is an increasing need for structural maintenance work. Any weak points are identified during routine inspections. Preventive modifications are developed for the most critical areas in order to maximize the cost-efficiency of aircraft maintenance and ensure both fleet availability and flight safety.


Address for enquiries

Kaj-Gunnar Sievert
Head of Communications, armasuisse
+41 (0) 58 464 62 47


Publisher

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS
http://www.vbs.admin.ch

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS
http://www.vbs.admin.ch

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS
http://www.vbs.admin.ch

Last modification 03.10.2018

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