Apparent wreckage from missing F-35 jet found: Japan gov't source

by Garry Watts April 11, 2019, 0:30
Apparent wreckage from missing F-35 jet found: Japan gov't source

Japanese military officials told local media outlets that no problems with the jet were reported before it disappeared.

Search efforts are now underway and involve a U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem as well as Japanese U-125A jets, UH-60J Black Hawk helicopters, and a P-3C maritime surveillance plane, next to other assets.

There was no word yet on the fate of the pilot on board, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said on Wednesday. A similar fighter belonging to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force crashed into the Pacific Ocean on April 9, 2019.

The F-35A in question was engaging in anti-fighter combat training with three other F-35A jets. 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.

The jet took off from Misawa airbase in northeast Japan yesterday evening and disappeared from radar 28 minutes later after the pilot signalled that...

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

The Lockheed Martin Corp. Lockheed Martin also makes a C version of the fighter created to operate off carriers.

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Lockheed Martin said in a statement that it was standing by to support the Japanese Air Self Defense Force as needed.

The UK now owns 17 F-35B Lightning stealth fighter jets, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged that a total of 138 will be bought. The Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.

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.

A September crash of an F-35B - the Marine Corps model of the plane - in SC prompted the Pentagon to suspend most flights for about two weeks to inspect a fuel line investigators believed may have contributed to the incident.

Japan is the largest foreign buyer of the stealth fighters that have also been purchased by other US allies.

Under guidelines approved in December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 105 F-35As, costing about 10 billion yen (£69 million) each. Japan's remaining 12 stealth jets are grounded for now, he added.

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