The Republic of Korea Air Force must make tough choices about what to do with the damaged F-35 fighter jet.
According to local media, Air Force officials faced a difficult dilemma over repairing one of the broken F-35s, which collided with an eagle during takeoff and was badly damaged. damaged.
The Korean Times quoted the source as saying the repair bill for the damaged F-35A fighter jet is estimated at more than 100 billion won ($76 million) – close to its original price of $100 million. The estimate came after talks between the Republic of Korea Air Force and Lockheed Martin, the US defense giant that developed the stealth fighter.
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The South Korean authority has discussed with Lockheed Martin what to do with the jet. After considering the economic and security ramifications, a decision to destroy or repair it will be made, the official said.
In 2022, the plane took off from a Korean military airfield in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province and was flying at an altitude of 330 meters when an eagle collided with it.
According to the Air Force, the large bird flew through the jet’s bulkhead and was sucked into the machine’s left vacuum pump, destroying hydraulic and electrical hoses in the jet’s landing gear.
The pilot, with the landing gear destroyed, had to perform a belly landing, which requires skillful maneuvering for a successful landing without destroying the plane. After draining the fuel tank mid-flight, the pilot managed to fly the jet back to Seosan Air Base in South Chungcheong Province. No human casualties resulted from the accident.
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