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South Korea grounds F-35 fleet after emergency landing

A Republic of Korea Air Force's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (the first of 40 aircraft is herein shown) made an emergency landing on 4 January. The fleet has been grounded until further notice, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed to Janes . (Defense Acquisition Program Administration )

The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has grounded its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter fleet after one aircraft made an emergency landing on 4 January.

An official spokesperson of South Korea's Ministry of National Defense confirmed to Janes on 10 January that the F-35 pilot was forced to make an emergency belly landing at Seosan Air Base while on a training flight. However, he did not comment on the cause of the incident.

The MND spokesperson said that the service has launched a formal investigation into the emergency landing and that the fleet will remain grounded until the investigation is complete.

On 5 January, the RoKAF Vice Chief of Staff Shin Ok-chul spoke at a parliamentary hearing about the incident and said that the pilot, who was unharmed, experienced unspecified issues with the aircraft's avionics systems while flying at low altitude and decided to attempt an emergency landing at the nearest airbase instead of ejecting from the aircraft.

This is the latest F-35 incident after a UK Royal Air Force's F-35B crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in November 2021.

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