Wreckage of missing Japan fighter jet found, pilot missing
11 April, 2019, 13:58 | Author: Carlos George
The remaining 12 F-35s have been grounded.
Defence officials said its pilot signalled the need to abort the mission shortly before the plane was lost.
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A fighter jet has gone missing off the coast of northern Japan, with a search mission now underway.
A Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) crashed into the Pacific Ocean off eastern Japan Tuesday evening while on a routine training mission causing concerns over US security.
The F-35 that went down was one of the first five aircraft delivered to the JASDF-and the first to be assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which partnered with Lockheed Martin in the company's sale to Japan.
Japan's first squadron of F-35s has just become operational at Misawa, and the government plans to buy 87 of the stealth fighters to modernize its air defenses as neighboring China and Russian Federation upgrade their military forces.
The fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet has been lauded as a game-changer in the world of military aviation, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.
NHK quotes Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya as saying that the military is focusing on rescuing the pilot, and investigating the cause of the incident.
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"In fact, President Trump wrote to PM Lee last month welcoming Singapore's plans to acquire the F-35", he said.
The UK Ministry of Defence is collaborating with USA authorities as they look to review the status of 17 F-35B fighter jets - the probe was initiated after a Japanese F-35 jet crashed on Tuesday in the Pacific Ocean, according to a ministry spokesperson.
"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35", a spokesperson said.
It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from the Misawa Air Base.
Japan's new F-35s will include 18 short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) B variants that planners want to deploy on its islands along the edge of the East China Sea.
"We are aware of the incident being reported involving a Japanese F-35A and we're standing by to support the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as needed", Lockheed said in an e-mailed statement.
The last time this happened the plane crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.
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