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Swiss F/A-18 Hornet fleet operational again after 4-month grounding

Photo: armasuisse

The Swiss Air Force fleet of F/A-18 C/D Hornets is ready for a return to operations after it was grounded in October 2019, following the discovery of cracks on the jets’ flap hinges.

Cracks on the flap hinges were found on October 9, 2019, and the air force ordered an inspection of all 30 Hornets, in addition to other measures.

The inspection work was carried out by RUAG MRO Schweiz and was officially completed on January 13. Fatigue cracks were found on two thirds of the aircraft fleet, according to the defense ministry.

The Swiss defense ministry informed that the aircraft had been declared operational just in time for the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos later this month.

Switzerland bought a total of 34 F/A-18s, with the first unit entering service in early 1997. With 30 Hornets currently operational, the country is looking to procure a successor fighter jet.

The country issued a second call for quotations earlier this month for 36 to 40 aircraft to Germany’s Airbus with the Eurofighter proposal, France’s Dassault Rafale and Boeing with F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin with the F-35A.