The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has grounded Hercules cargo planes and Boeing 707 planes used for airborne refuelling following investigation into an accident early this year in which a C-130 Hercules cargo plane rolled off runway.
In January, the Lockheed Martin plane rolled approximately 100 meters into a ditch at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, lightly injuring the two civilian workers.
“Hercules cargo planes and Boeing 707 planes used for airborne refuelling havebeen grounded, and left out of training flights,” Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin told Globes Thursday.
The IAF expressed dissatisfaction with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with the quality of maintenance services offered by the company after a five-month investigation into the unfortunate incident concluded.
“The direct cause of the accident in which the Hercules plane rolled off the runway is inaccurate operation by the IAI maintenance personnel. The maintenance culture and level of inspection at IAI, as reflected in the investigation report, is below the required level,” Norkin said.
According to the contract between the Air Force and the company, IAI is responsible for maintaining the aircraft used for heavy cargo transportation, deal with malfunctions discovered in the aircraft from time to time, and warm up the engines. The contract stipulates that IAI employees are required to maintain the planes in accordance with the manufacturers' instruction and in compliance with the policy of the air force technical units.
"The professional level is inadequate and the air force procedures binding on IAI according to the contract were not carried out," the Israel Defense Force (IDF) stated.
Work is not done according to the books and written procedures, and there are gaps in managing the air forces' aircraft, equipment, and materials," IDF spokesperson said.
The company on the other hand said that it "will do everything necessary to correct the deficiencies and continue serving the Ministry of Defense to its satisfaction."