Tokyo: A day after a F35A fighter of Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) went missing, the force today confirmed that the missing F-35A from its fleet had crashed; pointing to debris sighted and recovered Tuesday night by ships and helicopters searching for it.
Besides, the country has now grounded its 12 remaining F-35 jets at the Misawa base temporarily, said Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya.
The wreckage the American built stealth jet was found today in the Pacific, a day after it lost contact and disappeared from radar over the ocean, Japanese military officials said.
The pilot of the plane, however, is still missing.
Parts of the plane have been recovered during search operations at sea today. The reason of the crash, however, is yet to be ascertained. The plane was less than a year old.
The fighter jet went missing Tuesday evening as it was flying 135km east of Misawa, a city in northeast Japan.
It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from the Misawa Air Base. No problems with the aircraft had previously been reported, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
Rescue teams were continuing their search for the male pilot who was in his 40s, according to Japanese media.
Japan has been deploying F-35s, which cost at least $90 million, to replace its ageing F-4 fighter jets. (IANS)