Japanese F-35 crashed into Pacific, remainder of fleet grounded

Enlarge / An F-35 fighter plane of the Japan Air Self-Protection Pressure was misplaced within the Pacific on Tuesday. KAZUHIRO NOGI / Getty Pictures

On Tuesday, a Japanese Air Self Protection Pressure (JASDF) F-35A fighter disappeared from radars immediately solely 20 minutes after takeoff in reportedly clear climate, with no misery calls from the pilot. Immediately, after a search-and-rescue effort involving Japanese army and US Navy ships and plane, the wreckage of the plane was situated. However the search continues for the pilot.
In accordance with a JASDF spokesperson, the F-35A was misplaced from radar roughly 135 kilometers (about 84 miles) east of Misawa Air Base, a joint US-Japanese air base in Aomo prefecture—about 690 kilometers (430 miles) north of Tokyo.

That is solely the second F-35 crash for the reason that plane accomplished flight testing—a Marine Corps F-35B crashed in South Carolina in September of 2018. However there have been different security incidents with the plane. In June of 2014, an Air Pressure F-35A caught hearth earlier than take-off due to an engine failure. And in June of 2017, the Air Pressure briefly grounded F-35As after 5 incidents by which pilots skilled the signs of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).
The reason for the crash, which occurred at 7:27pm native time on Tuesday (6:27 am EDT), stays unknown. The JASDF has grounded its remaining F-35 plane pending outcomes of an investigation. However because the flight information recorder for the plane is in waters with a depth of about four,900 toes (1,500 meters), recovering it will likely be troublesome at finest.
Made in Japan
The F-35 that went down was one of many first 5 plane delivered to the JASDF—and the primary to be assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which partnered with Lockheed Martin within the firm’s sale to Japan. (The primary 4 F-35As have been constructed within the US and initially used for coaching Japan’s F-35 pilots at Luke Air Pressure Base in Arizona.) Mitsubishi beforehand licensed the design of the Normal Dynamics F-16 to construct Japan’s F-2 multirole fighter, the plane the F-35A is meant to interchange. The JASDF plans to purchase a complete of 87 F-35A plane, 83 of which will likely be assembled by Mitsubishi.

Given the cumulative variety of hours on the F-35A at this level, it could appear unlikely that the crash was brought on by a beforehand unknown design flaw. The plane misplaced had a complete of 280 flight hours previous to the crash. The pilot was pretty skilled, with greater than three,200 hours of flying time. However like all the JASDF’s pilots, he had restricted expertise so far with the F-35A—solely 60 hours of flight time within the kind.

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