Wreckage confirmed to be crashed Japanese F-35 fighter, pilot still missing

Wreckage confirmed to be crashed Japanese F-35 fighter, pilot still missing

Kerry Wise
April 11, 2019

The plane had logged a total of 280 hours in the air, he added.

The Self-Defense Forces had dispatched airplanes, helicopters and warships to search for the jet and pilot late Tuesday, and the search was continuing as of Wednesday morning. 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. The pilot remains missing.

The F-35 family of jets are the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings.

The British Ministry of Defence is in close touch with USA officials and monitoring the situation after Japan grounded its F-35A fighter jets following the crash of a Japanese F-35 in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson said.

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. But as the flight data recorder for the aircraft is in waters with a depth of about 4,900 feet (1,500 meters), recovering it will be hard at best. Defense News reports that the aircraft was the first to be assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya.

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Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said the jet, which flew from the Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, lost radar contact just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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

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

Japan is deploying F-35As, each of which costs more than 10 billion yen ($90m), to replace the ageing F-4 fighter jet. But like all of the JASDF's pilots, he had limited experience thus far with the F-35A-only 60 hours of flight time in the type. A Marine Corps F-35B fighter jet crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., in September.

Rome-based aviation expert, pilot, and former Italian Air Force officer David Cenciotti told Fox News on Tuesday that if Russian Federation or China find the aircraft first, "it could present problems depending on what is recovered, when it is recovered and, above all, in which conditions, after impacting the surface of the water". Lockheed also makes a C version of the fighter created to operate off carriers.