In response to specialists, the “stomach touchdown” — touching down with touchdown gear retracted — was an unprecedented occasion for the $100 million US-designed stealth fighter now in use or on order by greater than a dozen international locations.
“The jet did an emergency touchdown because the touchdown gear didn’t prolong. This could imply the jet did the ‘stomach touchdown,'” mentioned a South Korean army official, who wouldn’t affirm whether or not the plane suffered any injury within the incident.
Even when it did, it might reveal very good flying abilities by the pilot, whom officers mentioned walked away from the touchdown, in accordance with a South Korean army official.
“The F-35 lands actually quick. It isn’t an F-16, 18 or 111,” mentioned Peter Layton, a former Australian air power officer now on the Griffith Asia Institute, referring to older, much less refined army plane than the F-35.
“I am very shocked the emergency gear down programs did not work, or weren’t used,” he mentioned.
Layton additionally expressed shock that the South Korean pilot did not eject, “however clearly they did the correct factor,” he mentioned.
An investigation into the incident was underway, South Korean officers mentioned.
South Korea obtained its first US-made F-35 in 2019 as a part of an preliminary order of 40 of the single-engine jets, in accordance with the aircraft’s producer, Lockheed Martin.
Variations of the F-35 are additionally flown by the US Air Pressure, Navy and Marine Corps in addition to US allies and companions together with Japan, the UK, Australia, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Israel. Extra international locations have orders in for the jet.
Tuesday’s accident is the primary for a South Korean F-35, however the jets have been concerned in a minimum of eight different incidents, in accordance with information stored by crowdsourced web site F-16.internet.
Lockheed Martin says the F-35 “is probably the most deadly, survivable and linked fighter plane on the earth, giving pilots a bonus towards any adversary and enabling them to execute their mission and are available dwelling secure.”