US F-15 Crashes off Okinawa; Pilot Safe

Frederick Owens
June 13, 2018

A US Air Force F-15 is seen in 2009 taking off at Kadena U.S. Air Force Base on Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa.

The F 15 Eagle aircraft crashed at around 6.40am on Monday local time, around 80km south of Naha city in the island's south.

US Forces Japan confirmed the incident, which happened during a routine training mission.

"I want to firmly demand safe flights", he said adding that he has asked the US military to implement safety management thoroughly and take measures to prevent a recurrence.

The F-15 is the Air Force's legacy air superiority fighter and costs $29.9 million per jet.

A series of accidents involving US military aircraft has stoked tensions, and, in January, US Defence Secretary James Mattis apologised to his Japanese counterpart over the incidents.

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The pilot has been transferred to a hospital and is in "serious condition", the US Air Force in Kadena said.

Okinawa has seen a series of crashes involving other United States military aircraft over the years. "We will continue asking them to ensure safety", he said.

"The Japanese government doesn't have the capacity to address the problems as its own", the governor said.

Training operations with F-15 fighters will temporarily cease while operational, maintenance and safety procedures are reviewed, according to a statement from the base.

The U.S. Air Force is also considering replacing the F-15s, worth around $36 million each, with F-16 fighting falcons by 2020.

Okinawa Prefecture has been the site of several recent accidents and incidents involving US military aircraft, including the Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft.

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