The Navy and Marine Corps are replacing ejection seat parts in some fixed wing aircraft — including the F/A-18 Super Hornet — after the manufacturer discovered a defect.
The issue involves cartridge actuated devices, or CADs, which deploy a parachute when aviators pull their ejection handle.
All told, the issue was found in the F/A-18B/C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the E/A-18G Growler, as well as the T-45 Goshawk and F-5 Tiger II training aircraft.
Naval Air Systems Command declined to disclose how many aircraft are affected, citing operational security concerns, but said in a statement that the issue “only affects aircraft equipped with CADs within a limited range of lot numbers.”
No injuries or deaths have been reported due to the issue, NAVAIR officials told Navy Times. The command said it is working alongside the Marine Corps to resolve the issue.
Pilot error, leadership failures and faulty ejection seat led to fatal June F-16 crash at Shaw
“After being notified of potential defect by the vendor, Martin Baker, the team used validated radiography procedures to scan on-hand inventory to verify each item was properly manufactured before sending to the fleet to replace existing CADs,” the Navy said in a news release Tuesday.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division started distributing approved replacement parts to fleet maintenance centers on Sunday, and additional shipments are expected the rest of the week.
“The CAD will be replaced at the aircraft’s assigned squadron and the aircraft will be inspected before its next flight,” the Navy said.
The Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force are required to provide semi-annual reports to Congress on the status of ejection seats in use, thanks to a provision included in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Specifically, the services must detail how many ejection seats have a waiver that allows them to remain in use, even if repairs or replacement parts are necessary.
The measure was included in the defense policy bill following the 2020 death of Air Force pilot 1st Lt. David Schmitz, who suffered an ejection seat malfunction during an F-16 mishap.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Schmitz was involved in an F-16 mishap.