Air Force Wants $100M To Fix Jet
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Air Force is asking Congress for $100 million to fix problems with the engines in F-16 jets, after engine failure was blamed for seven crashes since November, spokesmen said Wednesday.
The first of the recent F-16 crashes blamed on engine problems occurred Nov. 19 when an F-16 lost thrust during takeoff at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. The latest related accident was on March 26 at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
None of the crashes was fatal, the Air Force said, and were traced to a variety of engine problems. Engine repairs would address the most serious problems identified in those crashes, said Bobby Stone, an aerospace engineer at the Air Force’s Propulsion Product Group at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The Air Force plans to repair all but about 300 of the newest engines in the inventory of about 1,800 engines, Stone said. Work would include strengthening or replacing fan blades and replacing two other parts.
Engine manufacturers General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are not being blamed for the problems and are cooperating with the repair plans, the Air Force said.
Repairs would take two to three years if Congress provides the additional money in the 2000 budget, but would take up to eight years if funded out of the regular maintenance and repair budget, the Air Force said.
The service has about 1,400 of the single-engine F-16s, plus about 400 spare engines.