The collision of the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike fighter with a bird caused him damage of at least $ 2 million. Fortunately, the pilot was not injured, but this incident is further evidence that even the most high-tech aircraft can be instantly disabled as a result of such an ordinary incident.
The accident occurred on May 7 at the Iwakuni Marine Corps airfield. The aircraft belongs to the 121st Naval Squadron stationed in Japan. In case of an unfavorable outcome, the unit could lose a car worth $ 120 million.
The US Department of Defense's Partners in Flight program is designed to conserve migratory and native birds in military areas. The Pentagon estimates that up to 3, 000 bird strikes are recorded annually at Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps bases. Called Bird / Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH), these incidents disable expensive equipment and pose a threat to pilots.
The US Department of Defense is taking BASH seriously. So, after each collision, blood, tissue fragments and feathers are carefully collected and sent for analysis to the Smithsonian Institution for subsequent identification. To prevent dangerous collisions and scare birds away, sound cannons have recently been used.
The Iwakuni incident is far from the only one. So, in 2017, two storks collided with an Israeli F-35, and the F-35 belonging to the US Air Force was unable to avoid a "meeting" with a bird at Eglin base in Florida in 2018.