Each of these fighters carries two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans

A video shows the process of removing an engine from a Spanish EF-18M Hornet fighter

One of the most expensive and complex parts of a fighter plane are its jet engines. The EF-18M Hornet has two turbofan engines.

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Specifically, the engines of the EF-18M are the General Electric F404-GE-400, a model specifically developed for this fighter and which, in different variants, has also equipped other aircraft, such as the stealth attack aircraft Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Northrop F-20 Tigershark fighter and KAI T-50 Golden Eagle trainer aircraft. These engines provide a thrust of 48.9 kN under normal conditions and 78.7 kN with afterburning. Thanks to them, the EF-18 can reach a top speed of 1,814 km/h (Mach 1, 8).

Maintenance tasks in an EF-18 of Wing 12, based in Torrejón. In this case we see that the two F404 engines have been removed (Photo: Ejército del Aire).

These engines are not exactly small. From the cone of the air intake to the end of the nozzle, they measure 3.91 meters long and have a diameter of 89 cm. Its weight is 1,035 kg, so to remove it from the plane you need a lift. According to data from General Electric Aerospace, more than 4,000 of these engines to 16 nations and, as a whole, accumulate more than 13 million flight hours.

A General Electric F404 turbofan engine like the ones found in the EF-18M. On the left we see the air intake (Photo: General Electric Aerospace.).

The EF-18M are, by far, the Spanish fighters that have been in service the longest. The first units entered service in 1986, so the oldest aircraft have been in service for 37 years now . The work of the maintenance personnel of the Spanish Air Force is essential to have ensured that these planes serve Spain for so many years. Much of that work is focused on engines.

An EF-18 from Wing 12, based in Torrejón, during maintenance tasks. In the image we see that the starboard F404 engine has been removed (Photo: Ejército del Aire).

In Spain, some of the EF-18M engine modules receive maintenance at the Maestranzas Aéreas (Madrid, Seville and Albacete), while the rest of the maintenance work is carried out at the own units that operate these aircraft (Wing 12 of Torrejón, Wing 15 of Zaragoza and Wing 46 of Gando). In addition, the Spanish Air Force detachments abroad also include mechanics capable of carrying out these tasks. One of them is the Viespe Detachment, currently deployed at the Borcea-Festesti Air Base, in Romania, in the NATO Air Shield mission.

The Spanish Defense Staff (EMAD) has published today an interesting video in which we see the removal of the F404 engine from the port side of the EF-18M C.15-43 (15-30) , currently deployed in the aforementioned Romanian base with the Viespe Detachment. In the images we see two engine maintenance specialists from the 12th Wing with two other members of the ground staff of that detachment:


Main photo: Ejército del Aire.

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