Air Force base grounds F-15s after crash in Japan

Air Force base grounds F-15s after crash in Japan
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A U.S. Air Force base in Japan has temporarily grounded its F-15 Eagle fleet following a crash early Monday that left the pilot in serious condition.

The Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement that an F-15C assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron of the 18th Wing crashed at approximately 6:26 a.m. in the waters south of Okinawa.

The pilot "successfully ejected and was rescued by Japan Air Self-Defense Force," the Air Force said. The pilot was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Foster and is in serious condition, the statement added.

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Officials said the cause of the crash is unknown. It occurred during a “routine training mission," the Air Force said.

"A board of officers will conduct a thorough investigation, examining the facts and circumstances that led up to the accident to determine the cause," according to the base.

The base said it has "temporarily paused F-15 local training operations while the 18th Wing reviews operational, maintenance and safety procedures with unit personnel." 

The incident is the latest in a series of aviation mishaps over the past year that have left 18 airmen and crew dead and dozens more injured.

That includes a T-38 crash that killed a pilot in November in Texas, a C-130 aircraft crash that killed nine people near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia in May and an F-16 crash April 4 in Nevada that killed an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot.

To address the crashes, the House Armed Services Committee this week will hold a hearing on the recent uptick in aviation accidents, which are at a six-year high, according to a Military Times investigation.  

And earlier this month the House moved to establish an independent commission to study military aviation safety, including it in its annual defense policy bill.