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.


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.