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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — A faulty bomb rack caused a dummy bomb to fall from an Air Force jet in South Korea in November, a safety investigation has found.

No one was injured in the Nov. 29 accident, but the nonexplosive BDU-33 training bomb damaged a two-story wire factory in northern Chungcheong province.

The 25-pound munition fell about 12:30 p.m. from an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack plane assigned to Osan’s 25th Fighter Squadron, part of the 51st Fighter Wing.

“A full investigation by the 51st Wing safety office revealed that for an undetermined reason, the Triple Ejector Rack on the A/0A-10 malfunctioned and did not release one BDU-33 over the range as commanded by the pilot,” the wing said in a Wednesday news release announcing the investigation’s findings.

“This left the BDU hung ‘unsecure,’ ” the release said. “During the aircraft’s return to base, the BDU-33 fell from the plane.”

The plane was returning from a training mission at Pilsung Range, about 90 miles east of Osan and about 60 miles from Eumseong, wing officials have said.

Later on the day of the mishap, Brig. Gen. Joseph Reynes Jr., the 51st Fighter Wing commander, ordered Osan’s A-10s to halt use of the BDU-33 pending outcome of the safety investigation.

The wing’s A-10s will resume use of the BDU-33, the wing said.

No similar halt in use of the BDU-33 had been ordered for the wing’s F-16 fighters because it had appeared early on that the mishap stemmed from the A-10’s bomb delivery system, which is different from that of the F-16, wing officials have said.

Meanwhile, Reynes has ordered action on several recommendations contained in the safety investigation report, 2nd Lt. Kim Schaerdel a wing spokeswoman, said Wednesday.

Reynes has directed the wing’s 51st Operations Group to ensure that whenever possible, A-10s returning from training ranges with BDU-33s be routed to avoid populated areas, Schaerdel said.

The wing also has asked the Air Force’s Ogden Air Logistics Center in Utah to spell out the proper amount of torque, or force, aircraft maintenance airmen should use when fastening a BDU-33 to the sway braces on the A-10’s bomb rack.

“It’s a rule that every time you load this bomb into this plane, the torque value has to be put to this specification,” Schaerdel said. “They want to specify what the pressure value has to be.”

The wing also has asked the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., to provide results of any future flight tests of BDU ejector racks used on the F-16 fighter. Wing experts would use the data to explore whether the F-16’s rack might be adapted for use on the A-10s, Schaerdel said.


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