Eagles on the Skids

japan-f-15.jpg

...And now Japan halts F-15 flights...

Xinhua News Agency | November 06, 2007

TOKYO -- Japan's air force has grounded its F- 15 fighter jets following a crash of the same type of aircraft in the United States on Nov. 3, Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said.

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force has suspended flights of F-15 aircraft since Nov. 5, Kyodo News quoted Ishiba as saying. The suspension will last until the cause of the U.S. crash is determined, he said.

The minister also said that F-4 fighters will deal with airspace incursion "for the time being," since the ASDF has also grounded F-2 fighters in the wake of a recent crash of an ASDF plane of the model at Nagoya.

A Missouri Air National Guard F-15C jet crashed while training in air combat maneuvers over southern Missouri. The pilot ejected and suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken arm. The U.S. Air Force then grounded nearly all its F-15 fighters - excluding those required for critical missions - as preliminary findings showed there might have been structural failure.

It was the second crash of a Missouri Air Guard F-15 this year. In May an F-14D crashed near Vincennes, Ind. Officials traced the cause to a jammed cable. The pilot of that plane also ejected, and escaped with minor injuries.

According to an earlier report from Kyodo, a planned joint drill between the U.S. Air Force and Japan's Air Self-Defense Force at Komatsu base in Ishikawa Prefecture, in which F-15s from Kadena were to take part, has also been postponed.

-- Christian

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