A B-52H bomber crashed earlier today (approximately 9:45 a.m. local time) off the northwest coast of Guam, the Air Force said in a statement. Emergency responders were on the scene working to locate the six crewmembers on board, USAF said. No additional information on their status was given. However, the Press Association wire service reported, citing the US Cost Guard, that at least two persons were recovered from the water at the crash site, but their condition was not known. The B-52 that went down is from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La. It arrived in June at Andersen Air Force Base on the island as part of a four -month rotation of nine B-52s. The US military maintains a continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific by rotating bomber units. These nine B-52s relieved another group of Barksdale B-52s. The crashed B-52 was set to conduct a flyover of the Liberation Day parade on Guam to celebrate the island’s liberation from Japanese occupation on July 21, 1944, according to the PA wire service. USAF said it will investigate the accident and release more information as soon as it becomes available. The crash is the second bomber mishap on Guam this year. In February, a B-2A stealth bomber went down upon takeoff due to faulty sensor readings. The two pilots survived with minor injuries but the aircraft was a total loss.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.