Wednesday, October 8, 2008

442nd Fighter Wing to inspect 11 of its A-10 aircraft

by Maj. David Kurle
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/4/2008 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit based here, will examine part of its fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to comply with an Air Force time-compliance technical order (TCTO) that requires immediate inspection and repair of wing cracks.

The action was prompted due to an increase in fatigue-related wing cracks currently occurring in A-10 aircraft Air Force-wide. The inspections will occur on A-10s with thin-skin wings, installed during original manufacture, to ensure the operational safety of the aircraft.

"Taking immediate action is necessary for the safety of our aircrews," said Col. Mark Clemons, 442nd FW commander. "Our affected A-10s won't be cleared for operational status until they have been inspected and any discrepancies have been found and repaired."

While this action impacts approximately 130 of the aircraft throughout the Air Force, the 442nd FW is required to inspect 11 of its 27 A-10s.

The inspections are a necessary step in addressing the risk associated with A-10 wing cracking - specifically with thin-skin wings. This risk is of great concern to the Air Force and is representative of a systemic problem for the aging Air Force fleet.

The A-10 is a ground-attack aircraft designed to support ground forces in combat. The 442nd has deployed its aircraft three times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

It is not known how long the inspections will take.


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