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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — People around this air base will hear a familiar roar Monday.

Kadena announced that 39 of the base’s 55 F-15 Eagle combat jets are expected to resume normal flight operations after being grounded since November following the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C.

The jets assigned to the 18th Wing are all F-15C and F-15D models, according to a base news release.

But while some have been cleared to fly again, 16 F-15s at Kadena will remain on stand- down as officials at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center continue to evaluate thickness measurement data for their longerons — longitudinal structural components of the aircrafts’ fuselage, the release said.

Inspections of F-15s followed the November crash in which one of the planes came apart in flight. An Air Force fleetwide investigation found that nine F-15s had cracks in their longerons. Two of them were based at Kadena. About 60 percent of the Air Force’s 441 older model F-15s were cleared to fly.

However, engineering analysis of the other 40 percent showed they had longerons that do not meet required thickness measurements specified in the aircraft manufacturer’s blueprints and remain grounded. The analysis of those aircraft, including the 16 on Kadena, is expected to take several more weeks to complete, according to the release.

“Our maintenance experts have devoted thousands of man hours over the past two months to make sure that our F-15s are safe to resume flight operations,” Brig. Gen. Brett T. Williams, 18th Wing commander, said in the release.

“The F-15 is critical to the defense of Japan and for maintaining peace and stability in the region,” he said. “Our priority in resuming flight operations is to fill our operational taskings and requirements for the defense of Japan, and to do it safely.”


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