The Defense Ministry has retrieved part of the flight data recorder from a F-35A stealth fighter that went missing last month, but it was heavily damaged and did not include a storage device to record speed and altitude data, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters Tuesday.
The discovery on the sea floor, the exact location of which has been withheld for security reasons, is therefore unlikely to help determine the cause of the crash.
What looked like some parts of the stealth fighter — which cost more than ¥10 billion — were also spotted on the sea floor, about 1,500 meters below the surface. The Defense Ministry plans to salvage them, said a public relations officer with the Air Self-Defense Force in Tokyo.
The F-35A stealth fighter went missing on April 9 about 135 kilometers east of Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, during a combat exercise together with other three F-35As.
The pilot, Major Akinori Hosomi, has yet to be found. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Japan Times website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article mentions, just in passing, that the F-35’s flight recorder “did not include a storage device to record speed and altitude data,” a stunning omission on an aircraft that has been hailed for 20 years as the most sophisticated fighter ever built.
Conveniently for its backers, this means that the causes of the unexplained incident will probably never be ascertained, and therefore will not further degrade the aircraft’s reputation.)