ASH CLOUD: RAF suspends Typhoon flights after finding ash deposits

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons are the latest military aircraft to have been confirmed as having sustained possible damage during Europe’s volcanic ash crisis.

"A small number of Typhoon fast jets were found yesterday [21 April] to have volcanic ash deposits on them following routine post-flight inspections," the Ministry of Defence confirms. "As a precautionary measure, non-essential flying has been temporarily suspended, pending the outcome of further checks and analysis.” Operational tasks, such as quick reaction alert cover, "have not been affected and continue", it adds.

 
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The service had previously restricted flight activities with the type to only QRA cover during a six-day period while non-restricted airspace was closed across much of Europe. However, training sorties resumed yesterday with the Typhoon, which is powered by two Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines.

Finland’s air force has already released images of the effects of ash ingestion on the engines of one of its Boeing F-18 fighters which had been airborne on 15 March. Lockheed Martin F-16s from a NATO operator, believed to have been the US Air Force, were also affected, according to comments attributed to a senior US diplomat.

Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database says the RAF has now taken delivery of 62 Typhoons from the UK’s Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 production orders for the type. The fleet is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, with several aircraft also currently deployed to the Falkland Islands.