Inspector General Tomas Colin Archer highlighted the problem at a seminar in Trondheim, and he warned against waiting too long to replace the planes which were bought in 1980.
Air Chief Arild Heiestad at Ørland main air station said to Adresseavisen that problems with crack formations were discovered rather early. The wear and tear increases if weapons are attached underneath the plane’s wings.
«But this doesn’t worry me too much,» Heiestad stated. «The pilots can be sure that if planes are not entirely safe, they will not be allowed to fly. Areas with crack formations are often inspected and parts are replaced.»
He said that all planes have a certain running time. For F-16 this is 8,000 hours. The older the plane gets, the more it needs to be repaired.
«This means that we have to fly more carefully, but the F-16 planes are newer than the Germans Tornado,» said Jostein Grønflaten, squadron chief.
According to the plan, the planes will be replaced in 2015. Grønflaten said the planes would hold that long, but at the same time, he points out that there is a limit to how long it is profitable to repair them.
«After a while, it may become more expensive to maintain the plans than to buy new ones,» Grønflaten explained.