Lakenheath F-15C, D fleet stands down for additional inspections

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — A 493rd Fighter Squadron aircraft and crew taxi to take off. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Airman 1st Class John Easterling)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — Liberty's fleet of F-15C and D model aircraft are grounded for additional inspections and possible repair actions. The decision came Nov. 29 and is the result of Gen. John D.W. Corley, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command commander's recommendation to inspect all F-15 A through D model aircraft for the second time in the month of Novemember.

The recommendation follows findings stemming from the investigation of an F-15C mishap that resulted in the loss of that aircraft Nov. 2.

The new findings from the Accident Investigation Board indicate possible fleet-wide airworthiness problems with F-15A/B/C and D aircraft. These findings, based on a metallurgical analysis of the mishap aircraft, have drawn attention to the F-15's upper longerons near the canopy of the aircraft that appear to have cracked and failed. The longerons are major structural components that run along the length and side of the aircraft.

Although the longeron area was covered in general by previous inspections as a result of the Nov. 2 mishap, technical experts with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia, are recommending a specific inspection technique for the suspect area based on the Nov. 27 findings.

Manufacturer simulations have indicated a catastrophic failure could result in this particular area. In addition, cracks were discovered along the same longeron area during two recent inspections of F-15C aircraft. These aircraft were immediately grounded based upon the inspection findings and are awaiting further engineering instructions.

Based on the most recent data, ACC believes it is necessary to stand-down the F-15 A through D aircraft until such time each aircraft can receive a more detailed and tailored inspection of the upper longerons in the focus area.

Air Combat Command continues to work with the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve and sister major commands in Europe and the Pacific, as well as joint and coalition partners, to ensure mission coverage.

The stand-down does not affect the F-15E. The duration of the stand-down is pending the completion of required inspections and any necessary repair actions.

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