Aug. 8 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force said Thursday that Gen. Maryanne Miller has grounded 123 of 450 Total Force C-130 Hercules aircraft from service after discovering cracks on the wing.
During maintenance, “atypical cracks” were found on the lower center wing joint or “rainbow fitting,” accoding to an Air Mobility Command statement from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga.
Miller gave an order to halt the aircraft from service on Wednesday after discovering the cracks. Inspections will take eight hours, and if cracking is identified, rainbow fitting replacement will be required. Otherwise, the aircraft will be returned to service immediately.
As of Thursday morning, eight C-130s had been inspected and returned to service, AMC spokeswoman Alexandra Soika told Stars and Stripes.
“The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission,” according to the U.S. Air Force. “The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.”
Miller ordered inspections to identify and correct any cracks to ensure fitness of the C-130 aircraft.
“The Air Force takes the safety of its Airmen and aircraft very seriously and is working diligently to identify and repair affected aircraft as soon as possible,” the AMC statement said. “At this time, it has been assessed that this temporary removal of service will not impact ongoing C-130 support to overseas contingency operations.”