The F-5E has been a part of the Swiss Air Force since 1982.
Last year, the Swiss Air Force retired a third of their F-5E fleet due to cracking. 16 of the 32 cracked. 10 were retired and 6 were repaired. Even with the age of the aircraft, the Swiss Air Force expected a longer life. During the development stages of this aircraft, the damage tolerance design suggested there was no life limitation. With today’s current maintenance methods, the ease and availability of maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) makes this aircraft last.
Laser peening prevents crack initiation and propagation. The deep compressive residual stresses from laser peening result in lower crack growth rates, and retards crack propagation. Some examples of cracking areas that laser peening is known to have benefited include: engine blades, rivet holes, fuselages and more.
To read more about the Swiss F-5E, click here.
To read more about the maintenance of the Swiss F-5E, click here.
To read more about how Laser Peening prevents cracks, click here.