The Navy grounded its T-45C Goshawk jet trainer fleet Friday “to review an engine blade fault,” according to a press release issued Tuesday by Naval Air Systems Command.
The decision to halt Goshawk flights for the Navy and Marine Corps was made “out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our aviators,” Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Richard Brophy said in the statement.
“We are working with our partners toward a swift resolution,” he said. “Safety is at the core of our operations, and we must not expose our pilots or aircraft to unnecessary risk.”
The Navy press release does not indicate how the blade issue was discovered or whether it had contributed to any mishaps.
Officials did not immediately respond to follow-up questions Wednesday evening seeking further information on the issue, or to explain the delay in announcing the grounding.
Several Navy agencies have been working “around the clock” with industry partner Rolls Royce to figure out the cause of the blade failure, according to Rear Adm. John Lemmon, who leads the Navy’s Tactical Aircraft Programs office.
“Engineering analysis has been underway and will continue until we can safely return the T-45 fleet to a flying status to support CNATRA’s training,” Lemmon said in a statement.
The Goshawk is used as part of the Navy and Marine Corps pilot training program for carrier aviation and tactical strike missions, according to the Navy.
T-45s have been flying since 1988, with the C variant entering the fleet in 1997.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.