UK's MoD Reviewing Status of F-35s Following Japan Crash

A Japan Coast Guard vessel and a USA military aircraft conduct rescue and search operations at the site where an Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, off Aomori prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 10, 2019.

The pilot is a man in his 40s, Mr Iwaya said.

A JASDF search team of 11 aircraft, including UH-60Js and U-125s as well as Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships and aircraft, began searching the area where the fighter went missing shortly after the incident.

Iwaya added, "I want to express my deepest apologies for giving local residents a great deal of anxiety".

"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35", a spokesperson said.

The cost for the additional purchase of F-35s is expected to total about 1.2 trillion yen ($10.7 billion).

The F-35A stealth jet disappeared from radar while flying off the eastern coast of Aomori and parts of the jet were found late on Tuesday, the Air Self-Defence Force said.


Japan has grounded its 12 remaining F-35As at Misawa, as well as other military flights.

The UK now owns 17 F-35B Lightning stealth fighter jets, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged that a total of 138 will be bought.

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. In November previous year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the United Kingdom was doubling its fleet of F-35 fighters by ordering 17 more jets.

"We are aware of the incident being reported involving a Japanese F-35A and we're standing by to support the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as needed", Lockheed said in an e-mailed statement.

Japan's first squadron of F-35s has just become operational and the government plans to buy 87 of the stealth fighters to modernize its air defenses.

Britain, which has 17 F-35B model jets that can take off and land vertically, has not grounded its fleet, but is monitoring the situation closely. Last September, an F-35B (vertical landing variant) crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC. Lockheed also makes a C version of the fighter created to operate off carriers.


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