PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Air Force said Friday that a chafed electrical wire caused an F-22 Raptor fighter jet to crash near Tyndall Air Force Base in November.
The Air Command Accident Investigation Board, based in Langley, Va., determined that the chafed wire let to an internal fire in the accessory bay of the radar-evading, stealth jet.
The pilot ejected safely.
The jet that went down was leading a training mission with another jet.
According to the board's findings, the fire damaged the hydraulic system and caused the pilot to be unable to control the jet.
The military estimated the total damage from the crash to be around $150 million. The figure includes damage to the jet and clean up on the ground.
The single-seat jet went down near a remote section of Panhandle highway. No one on the ground was injured, and the pilot had no serious injuries.
"The fire compromised critical electrical and hydraulic systems that control the F-22 flight control surfaces and let to an unrecoverable situation," investigators said.
Investigators also determined that weather contributed the crash. Investigators said a solid cloud layer blocked the pilot's view of the ground and affected the radar.
The Air Force said lessons have been learned because of the crash. F-22 maintenance crews are doing recurring inspections of all F-22 jets and officials plan permanent changes to some parts that were involved in the fire.
The Air Force has the F-22's price tag at $160 to $190 million per plane, but outside experts estimate they cost more than $350 million each when research and development expenses are added.
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