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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

IDF/AF, USAF to jointly test F-16I

June 23, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - The Jerusalem Post has reported on a joint experiment to take place next month in the US in which the IDF/AF hope to discover what is causing high levels of carcinogenic material to be found in the F-16I.

The test will be held in conjunction with the US Air Force, Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney. A team consisting of interested parties has already formed and has met regularly since the incident of carcinogenic material was first discovered.

Earlier this month officers from the IDF/AF were in the US to meet Pratt & Whitney who supplied the F100-PW-229 engine which is installed in the F-16I 'Sufa'.

In March, then-OC IDF/AF Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy decided to ground all F-16I training flights after a high level of formaldehyde was found in the cockpit of one of the aircraft. All training flights were suspended after reports of bad smells were reported from one jet. The IDF/AF Medical branch identified the smell to be type of formaldehyde known to be carcinogenic in high concentration.

Shkedy allowed the F-16I to return to service only after special filters were installed. 23 will have been refitted by the end of June. However 3 jets still remain grounded with high levels of formaldehyde.

The test, scheduled to be held in July, is expected to finally reveal the cause. The IDF/AF suspects that either a part of the engine or the air conditioning system is the cause. Officers have also raised the possibility that the humid weather in Israel was also a factor.