Coast Guard Grounds Fleet of C-27J Spartan Aircraft Due to Structural Cracks

Coast Guard Grounds Fleet of C-27J Spartan Aircraft Due to Structural Cracks

The U.S. Coast Guard has taken a precautionary measure by grounding its entire fleet of 14 C-27J Spartan maritime patrol aircraft after the discovery of serious structural cracks on each of them. The decision followed a thorough inspection prompted by a service bulletin issued by the aircraft's manufacturer, Leonardo of Italy. The identified cracks were located at the points where horizontal and vertical stabilizers attach to the fuselage.

Leonardo assures that the structural issues have straightforward remedies, and the aircraft can return to service promptly. However, the Coast Guard, taking a cautious stance, has asserted its authority to determine when the planes will be back in operation. A comprehensive evaluation will be conducted, and any necessary rectifications will be addressed before the aircraft are cleared for service again.

The C-27J Spartans play a crucial role in Coast Guard operations, frequently operating at low altitudes over saltwater. These aircraft are integral for missions such as drug and fisheries flights, disaster response, and search and rescue operations. In response to the temporary grounding, the Coast Guard stated, "We are currently assessing our aviation force laydown to address the stand-down of these airframes." The Coast Guard maintains a diverse fleet, boasting nearly 150 helicopters and approximately 56 fixed-wing aircraft, including 27 C-130 Hercules.

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