Patria unveils twin-seat F/A-18 built out of single-seat F/A-18C Hornet


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Jun 29, 2009
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Patria unveils twin-seat F/A-18 built out of single-seat F/A-18C Hornet

13:34 GMT, September 21, 2009 Today, at the Roll-Out event in Halli, Jämsä, Patria introduces a twin-seat D-model F/A-18 Hornet. This aircraft is repaired and modified from a single-seat C-model F/A-18 Hornet badly damaged in a mid-air collision. During the repair project, the front fuselage of a twin-seater, bought second-hand from Canada, was attached to the Finnish aircraft. This project is an excellent showpiece of Patria’s skills and has greatly deepened Finnish expertise in the structures and systems of the F/A-18 aircraft.

“The project was challenging but the end result is proof of our high-end expertise. I am convinced that, with our technical know-how and reliable operations based on financial realities, we can create opportunities for future success stories. In addition, the project was an excellent example of how well international cooperation and partnership works in the F/A-18 world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Finnish Air Force, the US Navy and The Boeing Company in addition to the Canadian party for their support," states Jukka Holkeri, Executive Vice President, Patria’s Aviation Business Unit.

“Restoring the damaged aircraft became significantly cheaper for us than purchasing a new one. Furthermore, we now have the twin-seater aircraft we needed and therefore benefit of the project in many ways,” says Major General Jarmo Lindberg, Commander of the Finnish Air Force.

On 8 November 2001, two F/A-18 Hornet fighters from the Satakunta Air Command collided while on a night flight exercise to the south-east of Lappajärvi. One aircraft crashed and its pilot ejected, while the other badly damaged aircraft limped back to the Pirkkala base on one engine. Both pilots were unharmed.

A damage inspection confirmed that the front fuselage was a right off, requiring its wholesale replacement. The Finnish Air Force decided to scour the globe for an aircraft with corresponding damage to the rear and buy the front fuselage. However, its search was fruitless.

The Finnish Air Force had already noted its lack of twin-seater training aircraft. This gave it the idea of ascertaining whether it would be possible to replace the front fuselage of a single-seater with that of a twin-seater. Patria conducted the related analysis and confirmed that this would be possible. After an extensive search, the Finnish Air Force found a suitable body part in Canada and, although a new challenge arose in the part belonging to an older B-model aircraft, the project began. The necessary changes took some 100 000 man-hours.

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