Saturday, October 04, 2008

Inspections ordered for A-10 Thunderbolt IIs

Air Force officials have issued a time compliance technical order requiring immediate inspection and repair of wing cracks for a portion of the A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet. This action impacts approximately 130 A-10 aircraft with thin-skin wings installed during original manufacture and is being taken to ensure the continued operational safety of the aircraft.

Such action has become necessary due to an increase in fatigue-related wing cracks currently occurring in aircraft assigned to Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command and Air Force Materiel Command.

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

Taking immediate action is necessary for the safety of aircrews and to bring the A-10 fleet back to health. Accordingly, AFMC officials are working closely with those in ACC and the other combat Air Force major commands to address all of the thin-skinned winged A-10s, with a priority focus being on the A-10s currently in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

The A-10 is a valuable asset to joint warfighters because of its unique capabilities. It can deliver precision guided weapons at high altitudes, as well as surgical close-air support at low altitudes. The inspections, however, will not impact on-going or future operational combat missions.