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The following correction to this story was posted July 23: A July 22 story updating ongoing inspections of a fastener problem on F/A-18 Hornet aircraft should have said that the Navy’s preliminary analysis indicated the failures were due to a manufacturing problem rather than engineering.

A fleetwide inspection of F/A-18 A-D Hornet fighter jets has found four more aircraft with missing tail fasteners, bringing the total to seven, the U.S. Navy said over the weekend.

It appears a manugacturing flaw is causing the Hornets to shed the fasteners, which can cause dangerous cracks in the tail of the jets, according to the Navy.

Earlier this month, three Hornets were discovered with missing fasteners — two of those also had structural cracks — causing a mandatory inspection of 566 aircraft beginning July 10.

Inspections were about half complete on Friday, Navy spokesman Lt. Clay Doss said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The 1st Marine Air Wing on Okinawa said inspections of Marine Corps Hornets were ongoing late last week and that no jets had been grounded.

Nearly all F/A-18 A-D aircraft must be inspected within 25 flight hours, according to the inspection order.

Doss said inspection results were unavailable for individual regions, but 111 of the Hornets are now deployed and about 384 are training in the United States. The remaining aircraft are in reserve or depot status.

Hornets with cracks remain grounded and are expected to be repaired and ready for flight in about two weeks, Doss said.


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