Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s F-15 fighter jet lost part of its air-to-air missile while taking off for an emergency mission from Chitose Air Base in May 2017.
The fighter jet was reportedly scrambled for an alert mission to intercept an unidentified aircraft in Chitoseon on May 5 when one of the missile blades dropped off mid-flight, RT reports citing a report by NHK News Thursday.
The lost part is said to be 45cm in length, weighing 4.5kg.
There are currently over 150 F-15s in the JASDF fleet and the air force expects 40 F-35 fifth-generation fighters to come into service within the next years.
The Japanese military scrambled fighter jets 1,168 times during the fiscal year 2016, which ended in March 2017, the Japan Times reported. The number is the highest on record since 1958.
Of the scrambles, 851, or 73 percent, were to counter Chinese aircraft, 280 more than in the previous fiscal year, the newspaper wrote.