A  South Korean F-35A Lightning II fighter suffered severe damage when it collided with an Eagle. The high cost of repair led to his removal from the squadron.

Catastrophic damage to F-35A fighter   after aerial encounter with eagle

The South Korean Air Force’s F-35A inadvertently entered combat with an eagle, suffering damage to 300 vital parts. The collision affected key structures such as the fuselage, engines and control systems.

The incident took place during a training mission from the Jeonju base. The Eagle impacted and was sucked into the left air intake, severely damaging several components of the  F-35A. This confrontation forced the pilot to make an emergency landing at Seosan. Although the pilot was unharmed, all F-35As in South Korea were temporarily grounded.

Retirement of the F-35A after damage and cost assessment

Initially underestimated, the F-35A ‘s damage turned out to be extensive. The Air Force, after considering the high cost and time of repair, chose to retire the plane.

The final destination of the fighter will be decided after approval by the Ministry of National Defense. Estimated repair costs amount to 140 billion won, exceeding the purchase price.

Given the possibility of reusing retired aircraft, the Air Force is considering assigning the damaged F-35A a secondary role in mechanics training.

The mission to identify the winged adversary: ​​Which eagle was it?

The species of eagle responsible for the crash remains a mystery. Identifying it is crucial due to the variations in speed and damage capacity between species.

The eastern imperial eagle, common in South Korea, is known for its aerial agility, reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h. In contrast, the heavier white-tailed eagle flies at 40 mph.

Factors such as wind and weather can influence the eagle’s flight speed, especially in hunting situations, increasing the risk of dangerous collisions.

Impact Analysis: The destructive power of an eagle in flight

Our AI analysis confirms that an eagle traveling at 80 km/h can cause considerable damage when colliding with an F-35A.

The force of the collision can compromise the fighter’s structure, putting the safety of the pilot and crew at risk. Even the eagle’s relatively low speed can be enough to cause serious damage.

The eagle’s talons, along with its size and weight, represent an additional danger. The impact can cause serious structural damage and increase the risk of loss of control or catastrophic failure of the fighter.