Feb 1, 2022: According a report by Reuters, Japan confirmed on Tuesday that its missing Japanese F-15 frontline fighter is believed to have crashed and its two crew members remain unaccounted for.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force jet disappeared from air traffic control radar about 5 kilometers off Komatsu Air Base off the coast of Japan shortly after takeoff on Monday, which has two tactical fighter squadrons according to the Ministry of Defense.
Speaking to reporters, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi dismissed initial media reports that a pilot had been found. The Japan Coast Guard said in a press release that search and rescue helicopters and three Coast Guard ships continued their search after first finding part of the aircraft debris at sea.
Most Boeing Co-F-15 jets flown by Japan were built under a license from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and have been Japan’s most important front-line fighter for four decades, exploring the country’s airspace. The fighters regularly scramble to respond to Chinese and Russian aircraft probing the country’s airspace.
The country, a key US ally in the region has around 200 F-15s, half of which will be upgraded by Boeing to extend their operating life and improve capability.
Most Japanese F-15s are single-seat aircraft, with a variety of two-seater variants used for training. In 2019, a Japanese Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter crashed on a training mission in the Pacific Ocean when its pilot encountered potential spacial disorientation.
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