Dozens of French air force planes grounded : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

WIRE:03/23/2000 11:58:00 ET Dozens of French air force planes grounded

PARIS, March 23 (Reuters) - A French air force general said on Thursday dozens of air force planes, including front-line fighters, were permanently grounded for lack of spare parts. General Patrick Thouverez told defence correspondents that about 30 Mirage 2000 aircraft, France's main fighter plane, out of a total 215 were grounded through last year because spares were unavailable.

Some 20 Alphajet trainers out of 110 and 15 C-160 Transall cargo aircraft out of 70 were also grounded for the same reasons in December. "This is not good for morale and it is not good for flight security," Thouverez said.

He said the United States and other nations fielding advanced aircraft all suffered from the problem in comparable proportions.

"Either the spares don't exist or they were not ordered on time or they were not delivered on time," said Thouverez, who has just been named head of a new body charged with streamlining and centralising the order of spare parts for military aircraft.

France's air force, navy, army and paramilitary gendarmerie police fly a total 2,150 aircraft of 80 different kinds.

Ground support systems need to keep in stock close to 700,000 spares and have a 7.5 billion franc ($1.15 billion) annual budget to keep planes flying, he said.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 23, 2000

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