The pilot of an F-16 from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa AB, Japan, declared an in-flight emergency and was forced to divert to the nearby Aomori civilian regional airport due to an engine oil leak, reported Stars and Stripes. The pilot followed standard emergency procedures during the April 15 incident and safely landed the fighter after jettisoning its external fuel tanks over the Sea of Japan, according to the report. A second F-16 flying as the other’s wingman also landed at Aomori, states the report. Air Force officials are currently investigating the incident. Less than two weeks ago, an F-16 from Kunsan AB, South Korea, made an emergency landing at a civil airport in South Korea after a serious engine failure.
As the Pentagon increasingly pivots its focus to strategic competition with China, the U.S. will look to expand its partnership with South Korea to increase security across the entire Indo-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said Dec. 2 during a visit to the northeastern Asian nation.