Japan Grounds Its Fleet Of F-15s After Fuel Tank Falls Off In Flight

F-15C executing a maximum performance takeoff

Photo: wikipedia commons

Japanese officials announced Saturday that a 350-pound fuel tank and part of a dummy missile fell off an F-15 during a training mission, prompting Tokyo to ground the fleet for the second time in three months.The Taiwan News reports that the entire 202 plane fleet will be grounded indefinitely and available only for emergency scrambles.

No one was injured when the tank dislodged near Komatsu airbase in western Japan, unlike the July incident where a pilot was killed when his F-15 went down in the East China Sea.

The incident comes as Tokyo looks to replace its ageing fleet of F-15s with newer aircraft.

Japan is the largest user of U.S. developed military jets and is expected to announce where it will buy the $8 billion in new aircraft from by the end of the year.

Up to 50 new planes will be delivered with the final decision likely to be either Lockheed F-35, Boeing F/A-18s, or the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Japan’s F-15s are produced domestically by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, the same defence contractor whose network was hacked in August.

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