A Japanese F-35A fighter jet is missing; remaining 12 are grounded

A Japanese F-35A fighter jet is missing; remaining 12 are grounded

Later Japan's Self-Defense Force officials confirmed that emergency service with the military are searching for a F-35A fighter jet after it lost contact during a drill in northern Japan.

The previous four aircraft had been used for training in the United States before being brought to Japan, the defense official said. Japan's first squadron of F-35s has just become operational at Misawa and the government plans to buy 87 of the stealth fighters to modernize its air defenses as China's military power grows.

That's about all that's know thus far, but if the plane is found to have crashed, it would be the second such incident for an F-35.

The remaining 12 F-35A fighters have been grounded for the time being, according to the defence ministry.

Japan has a total of 13 F-35s, including the one that crashed.

The F-35 was developed by the US and eight other countries. It has not been revealed where the plane that went missing yesterday was built.

The first crash, of an F-35B, occurred in SC in September 2018, which led to a temporary grounding of all F-35 aircraft to inspect "suspect fuel tubes" that may have been a factor in that incident. Lockheed Martin also makes a C version of the fighter created to operate off carriers.

Japan selected the F-35A as the JASDF's next-generation fighter aircraft in December 2011 with an initial order for 42 F-35As.

The fighter jet went missing around 7:30 pm (1030 GMT) on Tuesday as it was flying on a training mission around 135km east of Misawa, northeastern Japan, on a training mission.

The F-35's advanced electronic warfare suite can allow seamless integration among users, making the planes strong counters to China's growing fleet of stealth aircraft, including the J-20 and J-31.

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