Within just 48 hours this week, four military aircraft crashed — unrelated incidents, but a cluster of disasters that is becoming depressingly familiar.

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Photo via DoD

With Marine Corps Class A aviation mishaps at a five-year high, the branch’s decision back in April to extend the life of the AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft — an about-face from an earlier 2014 replacement program despite the jump-jet’s hazard-prone record — seemed strange. But a new internal Department of Defense investigation captures the stark consequences of the accident-prone aircraft’s newfound lease on life.

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