Japanese F-35 Jet Disappears From Radar Over Pacific Ocean

Japanese F-35 Jet Disappears From Radar Over Pacific Ocean

The aircraft was at the front of a group of four planes out for training manoeuvres when it sent an "aborting practice" signal and then disappeared from the radar, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

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

Pieces from the wreckage a Japanese fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean Tuesday have been found, Japan's Self-Defense Force confirmed a day after the incident.

But Japan has grounded its 12 remaining F-35s. "We will do our best to rescue the missing pilot".

Misawa is the home of the 302 Hikotai (Squadron), the unit previously operating the F-4EJ "Kai", that has officially moved to Misawa air base to operate the JASDF F-35A 5th generation aircraft after retiring its last Phatom on March 26, 2019.

Japan selected the F-35A as the JASDF's next-generation fighter aircraft in December 2011 with an initial order for 42 F-35As.

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The aircraft crashed in waters that reach a depth of around 1,500 meters, making recovery, particularly of the aircraft's flight data recorder, difficult, the official said. 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.

The fighter, which took off from Misawa Air Base in northeastern Japan around 7 p.m. Tuesday, was flying with three other aircraft off the coast of Aomori Prefecture some 135 kilometers east of the base when radar contact was lost around 7:25 p.m., according to the Air Self-Defense Force.

The F-35 was developed by the US and eight other countries.

A P-8A joined JASDF aircraft and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships searching the area overnight. Each costs around $100 million, slightly more than the cost of buying a fully assembled plane. The first one occurred on September 28, 2018 when a U.S. Marine F-35B Lightning II crashed near Beaufort, South Carolina. More than 320 of the fighters operate from 15 American bases worldwide, though the Pentagon and Lockheed continue to wrestle with resolving more than 900 deficiencies - including flaws in the plane's complex software.

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".

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