CAD issues discovered in some US Navy, US Marine Corps aircraft

The US Navy has recently discovered an issue affecting cartridge actuated devices (CAD) in some fixed-wing aircraft.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the "Knighthawks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), May 28, 2018. Photo: US Navy

As informed, the affected aircraft include the F/A-18B/C/D Hornet; F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; E/A-18G Growler; and T-45 Goshawk and F-5 Tiger II training aircraft.

According to the statement, only aircraft equipped with CADs within a limited range of lot numbers are affected.

The officials noted that both the navy and the marines are working collaboratively to fix the issues.

The CAD will be replaced at the aircraft’s assigned squadron and the aircraft will be inspected before its next flight.

“The safety of Sailors and Marines is the top priority,” the navy stated.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) provides CADs/propellant actuated devices (PADs) for US Army, US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps aircraft.

After being notified of the 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.

NSWC IHD began shipping cleared replacement parts on 24 July to several fleet maintenance centers and will continue shipments throughout the week.

Commander, Naval Air Forces, US Pacific Fleet (CNAP), Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL), and USMC Supply and Maintenance centers are coordinating the prioritized delivery of the devices to aviation squadrons throughout the fleet.

CADs initiate a series of automatic functions when aircrew pull the ejection handle to safely egress the aircraft and deploy the aircrews’ parachute.

The CAD is inspected regularly, and replaced if needed, during period maintenance of the aircraft but can be affected by environmental and operational conditions, the officials concluded.

F/A-18 Hornet became the country’s first all-weather fighter and attack aircraft, and was designed for traditional strike applications such as interdiction and close air support without compromising its fighter capabilities.

The F/A-18 A-D is employed in Marine Corps fighter attack squadrons, US Navy and Marine Corps Reserve squadrons, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team (Blue Angles), and various other fleet support roles.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet entered fleet service in 1999, as the replacement for the F-14 Tomcat.

The Super Hornet is the second model upgrade since the inception of the F/A-18 aircraft program capable across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, close air support, air defense suppression and day/night precision strike.