US Grounds F-16 Squadron After Japan Crash

With Japanese worried over fighter safety, US looks to reassure
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2012 3:28 AM CDT
Updated Jul 26, 2012 3:54 AM CDT
US Grounds F-16 Squadron After Japan Crash
A F16 Jet Fighter performs during a demonstration flight at the 49th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, east of Paris, last year.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The entire F-16 squadron has been grounded for safety checks following a crash of one of the jets off Japan yesterday, reports AP. The fighter craft crashed while flying to Alaska Sunday morning, falling into the ocean 250 miles from the coast of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island. The pilot ejected safely and was rescued six hours after the crash. It was the first F-16 crash from Misawa Air Base since 2002.

But the US military is eager to prove it's taking every care possible. Officials are nervous about Japanese opposition to plans to deploy Marine MV-22 Ospreys, opposition that has increased with two Osprey crashes earlier this year—one in Florida and one in Morocco. With the first 12 Ospreys arriving earlier this week in Iwakuni, and more set to arrive in Okinawa soon, US officials met with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo earlier today to discuss Osprey safety. (Read more F-16 stories.)

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