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F/A-18 More cracks found in landing flaps of Swiss Air Force fighter jets

Fighter jet of the Swiss air force in mid flight over the Alps

The F/A-18 jets are still used for air patrolling duties according to the Swiss air force. 

(Keystone/Dominic Favre)

An ongoing inspection of the fleet of F/A-18 fighter jets of the Swiss air force has found more cracks in the landing flaps of the aircraft, according to the defence ministry.

Among the 11 jets - with four flaps each - checked so far, experts detected 15 fissures, a spokesman of the Federal Office for Defence Procurement told the Swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA.

He declined to elaborate, and it is not clear how long it might take to inspect the other 19 F/A-18 jets grounded earlier this month.

The air force cancelled an aerial display ten days ago. However, the aircraft remains in use for regular air patrolling duties, according to the defence ministry.

It’s the second time in 18 months that the F/A-18 fleet is undergoing an inspection following the discovery of cracks in landing flaps.

The Swiss air force operates 30 F/A-18 Hornet jets, as well as 26 F-5E Tiger aircraft and transport helicopters, but the authorities say the fleet is ageing rapidly.

The government wants to buy new fighter jets and military defences for the army. The plans still have to be discussed by parliament and could be challenged to nationwide vote.

In 2014, voters rejected spending CHF3.1 billion on 22 new Gripen fighters from Saab.

swissinfo.ch/ug

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