Thursday, January 19, 2017

US F-35 fighter jets deployed in Iwakuni base in Japan

A number of F-35 fighter jets arrived at the US Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan on Wednesday, marking the first deployment of such aircraft outside the US despite safety concerns from some people in Japan.

The F-35Bs, which are the Marines variant of the F-35 plane, departed from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, United States, on Jan. 9, said local media, quoting the US military.

The rest of the 16 F-35s set to be deployed at the Iwakuni base will arrive in Japan later.

Local people, however, have been concerned over safety risks caused by such aircraft, especially after a F-35 fighter jet caught fire in mid-air in October 2016 in the US when carrying out a training mission.

The incident was listed by the US Naval Safety Center as a Class A mishap, which means that the aircraft sustained a damage worth at least two million US dollars.

It was the third fire in three years for the stealth aircraft. In 2014, an Air Force F-35A caught fire while preparing for takeoff. In September 2016, a F-35A caught fire during start-up, forcing the pilot to exit the aircraft.

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