A Japanese stealth fighter jet has disappeared from radar over the Pacific Ocean during a training mission, according to local reports. Radio contact has also reportedly been lost with the plane.
The F35A stealth fighter disappeared at approximately 7.30pm local time Tuesday, reports the Asahi Shimbun. The jet took off with several other aircraft from the Misawa Air Base, roughly 135km northeast of Misawa City, for a regular night-time training exercise about half an hour before the disappearance.
The aircraft is believed to have one pilot on board. A search and rescue operation is already underway, and the Japanese Coast Guard has deployed two patrol ships to look for the aircraft and pilot.View image on Twitter
Japanese F35 fighter, disappears from the radar over the Pacific, no radio contact
The F35A is a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, and is the smallest and lightest of the Lockheed Martin series of multirole fighters.
The jet has been deployed at the base since January 2018. Japan’s Ministry of Defense currently has plans to deploy a total of 42 aircraft to the base.
Japan is one of the world’s biggest buyers for the fifth-generation stealth fighter. However, the F35 aircraft has been plagued with problems; last September, the US military grounded half of its entire fleet of F35s following a crash in South Carolina. The previous year, a US F35 deployed in Japan lost part of its fuselage mid-flight during a routine training mission.
In February, a Japanese F-2 fighter jet crashed into the Sea of Japan about 130km from its air base in Fukuoka, but thankfully the two crew members were recovered successfully by search and rescue teams.
A Japanese F-35 stealth fighter jet has gone missing over the Pacific Ocean during a training mission, according to local reports. It is the second crash in the history of the F-35, and the first outside the US.
The F-35A disappeared from radars at approximately 7:30pm local time on Tuesday, according to Asahi Shimbun. All radio contact with the plane was lost as well, suggesting it had crashed into the sea.
The stealth jet took off with several other aircraft from the Misawa Air Base, roughly 135km northeast of Misawa City, for a regular night-time training exercise about half an hour before it went missing.