IAF's orders transport, refueler planes back to service

The planes were grounded last month following investigation into January accident .

Boeing 707 Re'em refuels IAF jets (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Boeing 707 Re'em refuels IAF jets
Israel’s Air Force fleet of Karnaf C-130 cargo planes and Re’em Boeing 707 refueling planes will return to service next week after they were grounded by the military last month.
The military said on Friday the decision to return the planes to service came after the IAF and the government-owned IAI, which maintains the aircraft, “fixed the immediate shortcomings” and drafted a plan to further improve maintenance and quality control.
The decision was made on the recommendation of the head of the air force’s equipment squadron Brig. Gen. Shimon Zenziper, and following a joint investigation by the Air Force and government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) over the past two weeks.
“The immediate deficiencies were rectified and a plan was formulated for further improvement in the level of maintenance and quality assurance processes,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
IAI is responsible for maintaining the aircraft as well as deal with any malfunctions discovered in the aircraft and warm up the engines. The contract between the IAF and the company also requires that the civilian employees are to maintain the planes in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and in compliance with the policy of the IAF’s technical units.
An inspection of the IAF’s equipment for IAI’s maintenance system at the Nevatim air base in southern Israel on Thursday confirmed an improvement in the quality and professionalism of the maintenance process. A long-term plan was also ordered to be drafted in accordance with the decision of the investigative committee established by the Commander of the IAF Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.
“The Israeli Air Force will continue to cooperate with Israeli Aerospace Industries, which is a central component of the IAF’s operational capabilities,” the statement said.
The Air Force grounded the planes after an accident earlier this year in which a C-130 Hercules cargo plane rolled dozens of meters to the side of the runway during an engine check when it should have come to full stop. Two civilian workers carrying out the test were lightly injured.
An investigation into the incident found that “the maintenance culture and level of inspection at IAI...is below the required level,” a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said at the time.
In response to the military’s findings, IAI said at the time that the company “has provided services to the Ministry of Defense's satisfaction for decades, and the company was a full partner in the investigation, with which it fully cooperated. IAI does, and will do everything necessary to correct the deficiencies and continue serving the Ministry of Defense to its satisfaction, as it has done since the founding of the state."