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AEROSPACE
Britain fixes Eurofighter ejector seats after Spain crash

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Sept 20, 2010
Britain's Royal Air Force has modified the ejection seat harnesses on its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft following a fatal accident in Spain, the Ministry of Defence said Monday.

The RAF grounded all Typhoons deployed outside operational theatres from Wednesday until Monday so that the problem with the seats could be fixed, a spokesman for the ministry said in a statement.

Jets forming part of the RAF's quick reaction force in Britain and in the disputed Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic had already been modified and flights involving them were not affected, he added.

"The safety of our personnel is paramount," the spokesman said. "Sufficient modifications have now been undertaken and non-operational Typhoon flights have resumed."

The Royal Air Force has a fleet of 54 Typhoons.

A Saudi air force pilot was killed during a training flight in August with a Spanish instructor when their Eurofighter Typhoon crashed for an unknown reason. The instructor managed to eject and was only slightly hurt.

Saudi Arabia has its pilots trained to fly the aircraft by the Spanish air force under a bilateral agreement with Madrid.

Germany grounded all 55 of its Eurofighters indefinitely from Wednesday last week because of the same ejector seat problem, saying that "in certain circumstances the ejector seat does not operate faultlessly."

earlier related report
Spain grounds Eurofighter jets
Madrid (AFP) Sept 20, 2010 - Spain has followed Germany's lead and grounded its Eurofighter combat aircraft until an inquiry into a possible ejector seat problem is completed, a defence ministry spokeswoman said Monday.

The decision was taken on Thursday, she said, one day after Germany grounded its Eurofighter jets as a precaution, saying that "in certain circumstances the ejector seat does not operate faultlessly in case of emergency."

The problem had been detected during a check and was being taken up with the manufacturers, a German defence ministry spokesman said last week.

Britain's Royal Air Force said Monday it has modified the ejection seat harnesses on its Eurofighter jets after a lieutenant-colonel of the Saudi air force was killed during a training flight in Spain last month involving one of the planes.

A Spanish instructor managed to eject before the Eurofighter Typhoon crashed for an unknown reason and was only slightly hurt, the Spanish defence ministry said at the time.

Saudi Arabia, which took delivery last year of the first of the 72 Typhoons it plans to buy, has its pilots trained to fly the aircraft by the Spanish air force under a bilateral agreement with Madrid.

The Typhoon, a multi-purpose twin-engine fighter jet introduced in 2003, is built by a consortium made up of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Britain's BAE Systems and Alenia/Finmeccanica of Italy.

It also used by the Italian air force.



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