Safety Measures Not Installed on British Hercules Aircaft

More than two years after a Hercules plane crashed, killing 10 British servicemen, some of the aircraft are still flying without explosive suppressant foam, an important safety measure, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

Just seven of the Royal Air Force's fleet of 48 C-130 Hercules planes have had the foam installed, the BBC reported. A Defense Ministry spokesman said he could not comment on how many of the planes the force has, or how many have had the foam installed.

The Royal Air Force C-130 crashed in Iraq in January, 2005, north of Baghdad. A report concluded that gunfire from the ground had hit a fuel tank on the plane's wing, causing an explosion. Some experts have said the deaths could have been prevented if explosive suppressant foam had been fitted to the aircraft's fuel tanks, which is standard practice on U.S.-operated Hercules.

The ministry spokesman said the process of installing the protective measures on the planes - described as the "workhorse" of the RAF fleet - was ongoing. The current plan is to have the foam on the Hercules by the end of the year, he said on condition of anonymity, in line with government policy.

In November, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told Parliament that two of the planes had the foam installed.

The Royal Air Force flies several versions of the American-built C-130 Hercules aircraft, which is mainly used to carry troops, passengers and freight.


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