Defense decided to leave several F-16s on the ground after the incident in February at Florennes. An investigation points to a problem with the hinge pin.
Defense has taken the decision to temporarily immobilize part of its fleet of F-16, following an incident on February 11 latest. An F-16 from Florennes then experienced engine problems on takeoff.
In making this decision, the Defense is following the advice of the engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, and the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. “Defense attaches great importance to security and is doing everything possible to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.“
“A thorough check of the entire fleet shows that a significant number of engines exhibit similar phenomena.”
During the incident, the F-16 was confronted on takeoff with a nozzle burn. “This is a phenomenon in which a break in material causes, due to the high temperature, a number of parts to melt which can become detached. The engine of the affected aircraft was dismantled and sent to the maintenance company Patria BEC “, explains the Defense
A investigation detected a problem with the hinge pin. “This pin is part of a movable collar on the exhaust, which is controlled according to the engine speed. A thorough check of the entire fleet shows that a large number of engines exhibit similar phenomena, ”emphasizes the Defense.
All participating European Air Force partners and manufacturers have been informed. Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force indicated, based on this information, that corrective action should be taken immediately on the affected engines. Repair time is estimated at 5 working days per engine. However, the deadline could be extended due to a shortage of spare parts.