Procurement: Australia Rebuilds Its F-18s


June 3, 2007: Australia is spending over $16
million each to repair the fuselages of
49 of its 21 year old F-18 fighters. Constant use has caused the "center
barrel" portion of the airframe to suffer metal fatigue more rapidly than
expected. Replacing the worn parts will give the aircraft another nine years of
useful life. Work on the first F-18 was done in Canada, but the rest will be
rebuilt in Australia. It takes about a year per aircraft, although about eleven
will be undergoing the disassembly and reassembly process simultaneously. The
metal parts themselves are not all that expensive, but all the skilled labor
required to take the aircraft apart, and reassemble and test it, will account
for most of the $16 million cost.


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