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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A malfunctioning electrical component caused training flares to fall off a Kadena-based F-15C Eagle Aug. 13, base officials said Wednesday.

“A thorough investigation was conducted into the accidental simultaneous release of six flares from an 18th Wing F-15C,” an 18th Wing news release stated.

On takeoff, the flares simultaneously detached from the fighter and landed on the runway. The aircraft landed and was impounded for an investigation, which blamed “a malfunctioning flare system electrical component,” the news release stated. “The component was removed from the aircraft and a new one was installed.”

The plane’s entire system for launching such countermeasures, the 18th Wing added, “has been checked and the system meets safe operating standards. ... The aircraft has been cleared for flight. Additionally, the 18th Wing commander directed a change in procedures in an attempt to preclude the incident from happening again.” The 18th Wing did not specify what was changed.

Okinawa officials filed protests in the mishap’s wake, complaining that preventive measures were to have been taken after a flare separated from another Kadena-based aircraft and disintegrated over the base in April 2002.

“People are our most valuable resource, and the safety of everyone on Okinawa is most important to us,” the 18th Wing release stated. “Our goal is eliminating mishaps.

“The results of this investigation will be used to help prevent future occurrences,” it stated.

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