Tokyo, May 22 (Jiji Press)–The Air Self-Defense Force’s state-of-the-art F-35A stealth fighter jets have been equipped with a system to automatically avoid crashes following a deadly accident involving the same type of aircraft last year, it was learned Friday.
The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, or Auto GCAS, has been installed in 17 F-35A fighters stationed in the ASDF’s Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, through an update to aircraft software and other related work that started late last year, Defense Ministry officials said.
Four additional F-35A fighters expected to be deployed to the base in fiscal 2020 will come with the system when they arrive at the base, the officials said.
In April last year, an F-35A fighter jet crashed off Aomori Prefecture during a nighttime training, killing its pilot. The ASDF concluded that the pilot failed to notice the aircraft nose-diving as he went into a state of spatial disorientation, or a loss of a sense of balance.
Auto GCAS, developed by the U.S. Air Force and others, detects situations in which the aircraft could crash into the ground or the sea, using such data as its speed and trajectory and geographical data, and send a warning to the pilot.
If there is no response from the pilot, the system will automatically bring the aircraft into a stable position and altitude to avoid a crash.
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told a news conference Friday that the Japanese and U.S. sides are exchanging information about the crash of a U.S. Air Force F-35A fighter jet in the United States during a nighttime training this week.