(Adds Airbus comment)
BERLIN Oct 7 Germany has grounded half of its
ageing Tornado fighter jets, including six currently deployed to
Turkey as part of the fight against Islamic State, after
discovering loose screws that cannot be properly tightened in
some key cockpit equipment.
A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the issue affected
42 of Germany's 85 Tornados, built by Airbus Defence and Space
, including the six jets being used for
surveillance flights out of Incirlik air base near the Syrian
He said the issue centred on the screws used to fasten the
control and display unit in the rear of the jet's cockpit.
He said the aircraft would not be allowed to fly until a
solution had been found, since loose screws could cause problems
elsewhere in the aircraft.
A spokeswoman for Airbus Defence and Space said the firm had
discovered the problem during routine maintenance and reported
it to the German authorities. "We are working with the supplier
in order to define the root causes and prevent similar
occurrences in the future," she said.
It was not immediately clear how long it would take to
resolve the issue, or the likely cost.
The issue affects the newer ASST A3 model of the Tornados,
which first entered into service between 1981 and 1992.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Kevin Liffey)