Japanese fighter jet disappears over Pacific

Japanese fighter jet disappears over Pacific

The Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) says it has found what could be debris from the F-35A plane that lost radar contact with ground control at Misawa Air Base during a routine training mission off the coast of Aomori Prefecture on Tuesday, broadcaster NHK reports.

Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said that the MoD "will put all our efforts to save the life [of the pilot] first", according to The Japan Times.

It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from the Misawa Air Base.

The crash was only the second time an F-35 has gone down since the plane began flying nearly two decades ago.

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force search and rescue vessels have been dispatched to the area where the aircraft disappeared.

As a effect of that mishap, nearly all the F-35s were shortly grounded on Thursday, October 12, 2018 for safety inspections of their fuel flow systems.




Japan has a total of 13 F-35s, including the one that crashed.

At present, some of the Japanese F-35 are assembled in the United States and others at a plant in Nagoya, Japan. The first one occurred on September 28, 2018 when a U.S. Marine F-35B Lightning II crashed near Beaufort, South Carolina.

All of Japan's F-35As, which are assigned to Misawa, will be grounded, according to TV Asahi. Lockheed Martin also makes a C version of the fighter created to operate off carriers.

Japan has deployed F-35As, each of which costs over 10 billion yen (A$126 million) to replace the ageing F-4 fighter jet.

The F-35 stealth jet has been called the most expensive weapons system in history, and its development was beset by multiple delays before it was deemed combat ready. The fighter jet was flying with three others of the same make about 135km off the coast.

The F-35's advanced electronic warfare suite can allow seamless integration among users, making the planes strong counters to China's growing fleet of stealth aircraft, including the J-20 and J-31.

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