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Israel grounds Apaches after fatal accident

The Israeli air force has again temporarily grounded its Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter squadrons, following a 7 August crash which caused the death of a pilot.

As the AH-64A "Peten" approached Ramon air base, its pilot reported a technical problem. Seconds later, it crashed between the two runways, killing its pilot. The second crew member was taken to hospital after sustaining serious injuries.

The crash occurred two months after Israel's Apache squadrons were grounded after a 7.8in (20cm)-long crack was found in a tail rotor blade during a routine inspection. Further checks including the use of X-ray resulted in the air force reducing the replacement schedule for the part from 6,600h to 995h.

Air force commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel ordered the immediate grounding of the service's AH-64A/D fleet following the fatal accident. Preliminary indications from an investigation do not connect the crash to the previously identified cracked tail rotor blade issue.

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