US Navy Eurofighter Typhoon and F/A-18 Super Hornet grounded amid Martin-Baker ejection seat issue


A hiccup with pyrotechnics and Martin-Baker ejection seat thrusters has left Royal (British) Air Force and Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Eurofighter Typhoons grounded since July 20, after being withdrawn “from non-essential flight”. ”

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The US Navy has also grounded an undisclosed number of its F/A-18 Hornets, Super Hornets, and E/A-18G Growlers because they also use ejection seat variants that have the same or similar component.

The discovery also impacted the RAF’s BAE Hawk aircraft, part of the ‘Red Arrows’ display team, which had to cancel its aerobatic performance at the closing ceremony of the Airshow in London. Farnborough.

A German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon in flight

According reports, a German air force spokesman confirmed on July 22 that Eurofighters not intended for “active protection” roles on the eastern flank – currently witnessing the Russian-Ukrainian war – are put to the bench to have their ejection seats examined and repaired.

Typhoons as part of Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) squadrons are dedicated to rapid mobilization, interception and observation of enemy military activity. These are the QRA North in Neuburg; QRA South, Donau and; other formations based in Norvenich and Rostock-Laage. The German Air Force flies 140 Typhoons.

“There is no certainty about the operation of the pyrotechnic cartridges of the seats installed in the aircraft,” the report adds.

Fortunately, the Panavia Tornado ground attack aircraft were immediately reinstated following the initial suspicion of carrying the same problem since they belonged to a different production line than the Typhoon. There was no update on the matter at the time of this report.

Martin-Baker ejection seats pushing jets down?

The RAF then followed suit and also announced the launch of its own Typhoons and Hawks from the air. While the Typhoon uses Martin-Baker MB Mk.16A ejection seats, the Tornado and Hawk fly the Mk.10 variant.

It is unclear if other Typhoon users like Spain and Italy have also taken similar action. “We have been made aware of a technical issue that may affect the safe operation of our ejection seats in Typhoon and @rafredarrows aircraft.

We have suspended non-essential flights as a temporary safety measure until the situation is better understood,” the Royal Air Force said. tweeted July 22.

The United States Navy, for its part, according to a statement of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on July 26, identified the faulty component as the cartridge actuated device (CAD) on the MB Mk.14 seats.

The MB Mk.14 is also installed on the T-45 Goshawk and F-5 Tiger II trainers.

“After being made aware of a potential defect by the supplier, Martin-Baker, the team used validated x-ray procedures to scan available inventory to verify that each item was correctly manufactured before sending it to the fleet to replace the existing CADs. The CAD will be replaced at the squadron assigned to the aircraft and the aircraft will be inspected before its next flight,” the NAVAIR statement said.

A Martin-Baker MB Mk.7 ejection seat

The Eurofighter Typhoon was first introduced in 2003. Around 570 Eurofighter Typhoons have been built so far with a unit cost of $117 million.

The aircraft comes with single-seat and two-seat variants. The empty weight of the fighter is 11,000 kg and it can take off with a maximum weight of 23,500 kg. The aircraft is powered by two Eurojet afterburner turbofans, which produce approximately 18,143 kg of combined thrust, giving it a top speed of 2,494 km.

It has a ferry range of 3781 km and fights within a radius of 1388 km. The Typhoon can climb at a speed of 1,043 feet per second and can reach a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet.

The fighter comes with 13 hardpoints in addition to a 27mm revolver cannon. The Generation 4++ Typhoon – with the exception of the French Dassault Rafale – is the only multirole jet fighter comparable to the most advanced Russian fighter in its class, the Su-35S, and has a reasonable chance against the Su-57 unobservable/stealthy. ‘Criminal.’

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File Image: Eurofighter Typhoon

Exercise to deter China in danger

In an embarrassment for Germany, the problem was discovered when Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht was visiting Tactical Air Force Squadron 74 in Neuburg, depriving her of the opportunity to see pilots from the Luftwaffe perform maneuvers.

According to a report in Suddeutsche Zeitung.

It could also affect upcoming exercises Rapid Pacific, Pitch Black and Kakadu from mid-August to early October, 22,000km in Australia.

In addition to visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore as part of the exercises, stops are also planned in South Korea and Japan.

The air force, which wanted to send 13 planes, including six Eurofighters, four A-400Ms and three tankers, is now considering the possibility of not being able to participate if the problems are not resolved.

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