US Navy joins search for missing Japan F-35A pilot
Apr 11, 2019, 00:29
Japan's Ministry of Defense said the crashed F-35A was one of 13 stealth fighters operational with the JASDF 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron based at the Misawa Air Force Base in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan.
"I would like to apologise to local residents for having caused concerns to them", said Iwaya. And in June of 2017, the Air Force briefly grounded F-35As after five incidents in which pilots experienced the symptoms of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).
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 F-35's pilot was a veteran flyer with 3,200 hours of flight time, but had spent only 60 hours in the F-35, a defense official told Reuters.
The crash was only the second time an F-35 has gone down since the plane began flying nearly two decades ago. 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 UK Ministry of Defence is collaborating with United States authorities as they look to review the status of 17 F-35B fighter jets - the probe was initiated after a Japanese F-35 jet crashed on Tuesday in the Pacific Ocean, according to a ministry spokesperson.
Under guidelines approved in December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 105 F-35As, costing about $90 million each.
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The crashed aircraft was the fifth delivered to the ASDF, but the first to be assembled by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. It was also the first crash of an A version of the fifth-generation fighter, which is created to penetrate enemy defences by evading radar detection.
A US military short take off and landing (STOVL) F-35B crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC in September prompting a temporary grounding of the aircraft. 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.
No comment was immediately available from the U.S. F-35 program office about the accident or any move to follow Japan's lead in grounding the aircraft.
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