US F-15 Fighter Jet Crashes, Pilot In Serious Condition

US F-15 Fighter Jet Crashes, Pilot In Serious Condition

Reports say the pilot was taken by helicopter to a nearby U.S. naval hospital.

The F-15, belonging to the US Kadena Air Base, crashed at around 6.25am about 80km south of Naha, the prefectural capital of Okinawa, during training, they said.

"I would like to personally thank the Naha Rescue Squadron for their quick response this morning, which led to the safe recovery of our airman", said Col. Richard Tanner, 18th Wing vice commander, in a statement.

As of 8.50am local time (12.50am on Sunday GMT) the Kadena Air Base tweeted to confirm the crash.

A series of accidents involving US military aircraft has stoked tensions, and, in January, US Defence Secretary James Mattis apologised to his Japanese counterpart over the incidents.

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It is the 12th U.S. military aircraft crash so far this year. According to the Kyodo news agency, the United States warplane crashed into the ocean soon after take off.

"We can not fulfill our responsibilities for our children and their children if such a situation becomes the norm", he said. The US fighter jet belonged the American Kadena airbase in Okinawa, Kyodo reported, citing government sources.

The U.S. Air Force is also considering replacing the F-15s, worth around $36 million each, with F-16 fighting falcons by 2020. Okinawa houses a controversial American military presence, which has been the subject of numerous protests.

The F-15 is the Air Force's legacy air superiority fighter and costs $29.9 million per jet.

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