Seoul has halted all operations involving the problem-prone US-made fighter jet after a critical malfunction resulted in a stomach touchdown
South Korea’s complete fleet of F-35 fighters has been grounded as its navy investigates the reason for a touchdown gear glitch that pressured a pilot to carry out a dangerous crash-landing, the newest failure to plague the US-made craft.
An ill-fated coaching flight earlier this week has prompted a probe into what could have brought about the malfunction, which affected a lot of methods along with the airplane’s touchdown gear, South Korean protection officers mentioned on Wednesday.
“With the investigation underway, the whole [F-35] fleet is suspended from flying,” one official advised AFP.
Throughout a listening to on the incident on Wednesday, the vice chief of employees for the South Korean air power, Shin Okay-chul, mentioned the F-35A was at low altitude close to a base within the west of the nation when its pilot heard “bangs” coming from someplace on the jet, main him to verify on the airplane’s methods.
“All methods had stopped working besides flight controls and the engine,” Shin continued, noting that the pilot selected to carry out an emergency stomach touchdown – through which a airplane skids on its underside to land safely throughout a malfunction – relatively than eject. Reportedly making the first-ever stomach touchdown ever tried in an F-35, the airman happily emerged unscathed.
Forward of the death-defying maneuver, particular foam was shortly utilized to the air base’s runway to be able to cease the airplane from exploding as a result of friction and sparks created because it scraped the tarmac at excessive speeds.
Whereas Washington and US-based arms seller Lockheed Martin have touted the F-35 as among the many most superior fighter jets ever developed, the mission has been a pricey one for US taxpayers, who’ve footed the invoice for an extended collection of delays, malfunctions and price overruns because the craft made its first official flight in 2006. Nonetheless, a lot of American allies have lined as much as purchase the airplane, with Seoul making its first order for 40 of the craft in 2014 and receiving an preliminary cargo of round a dozen in 2019. It has since agreed to buy extra, hoping to acquire scores of extra F-35s for its air power and navy.
Tuesday’s dramatic stomach touchdown and fleet-wide grounding in South Korea comes after one other F-35 operated by the UK crashed into the Mediterranean sea final November because it tried takeoff from a British plane service, although its pilot was capable of safely eject.
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