F-22 Suffers Nose Gear Issue At Kadena Airbase Ends Up With Nose Down On Runway

F-22 gear issue Kadena
A screenshot from the video posted to Youtube by Okinawa Television showing the F-22 on its nose on Apr. 11, 2024.

Images being circulated online show the aircraft on its nose at the base in Japan.

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor suffered a nose gear issue at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, on Apr. 11, 2024.

According to eyewitnesses and TV reports from Okinawa Television, at around 10.30AM Local Time the aircraft suffered an emergency on the runway: images show the stealth aircraft being towed with its nose gear apparently retracted.

Although no official confirmation has been provided yet, it looks like the nose gear collapsed as the aircraft was being towed off the runway with its engines shut down.

Fire engines and other vehicles rushed to the runway 23L/5R, but there was no fire and personnel were seen inspecting the aircraft.

Past incidents

It’s not the first time an F-22 experiences issues with its landing gear.

In March 2022, an image of an F-22 Raptor with its nose cone buried in the ground at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, was posted online after the aircraft had an apparent landing gear mishap. A statement from the 96th Test Wing at Eglin confirmed that the incident happened during landing.

One year before, on Mar. 15, 2021, an F-22 Raptor assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, experienced a ground mishap at on the flightline at Eglin AFB, Florida. The F-22 had an in-flight emergency and landed safely but suffered a nose gear collapse on the runway, the base also confirmed.

Airmen posted this photo of an F-22 on its nose at Eglin AFB on Mar. 15, 2021.

A “common” issue

Not only the F-22 fleet has suffered various issues with the nose gear.

As reported in detail recently, the F-35 Lighting II aircraft has also a history of nose gear troubles. On Jan. 26, 2024, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 311 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, suffered a nose landing gear collapse while parked shortly after a training mission at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.

The photos, we exclusively published, showed the mishap F-35C, CF-89/170109, coded “WL-04”, and parked under a sunshade sitting on its Electro-Optical Targeting System’s glass fairing: according to the unverified report we were submitted, after shutting down the aircraft without problems, the pilot started climbing down the ladder when the nose landing gear began retracting slowly.

F-35C Nose Landing Gear collapse
The F-35C sitting on the EOTS after the nose landing gear collapse. (Photo: Reader’s submission)

Previously, on Dec. 1, 2022, an F-35B Lightning II, belonging to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 ‘Green Knights’, was involved in an incident on the ground at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan: after making a precautionary landing at the base due to possible electrical problems the aircraft was being towed when the nose wheel broke, leaving the 5th generation aircraft with its nose on the taxiway.

F-35B nose gear collapse
A screenshot from NHK media outlet showing the F-35B after the nose gear collapse. (via NHK)

The incident with the F-35B at Kadena in 2022 was strikingly similar to another one, that occurred to a USAF F-35A in 2018. In that event, an F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to base. The aircraft landed safely and parked when the front nose gear collapsed.

Another gear collapse incident occurred to another F-35A on the runway after landing at Hill AFB on Jun. 8, 2020.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.