NORTH PACIFIC –-- A U.S. Navy salvage team aboard a contracted vessel completed its mission supporting search and recovery operations with the Japan Self-Defense Forces after locating debris from the downed JASDF F-35A off the coast of Japan, May 8.
Working closely with JSDF forces, the salvage team deployed a U.S. Navy remotely operated vehicle, CURV 21, to survey the area where debris was located.
Prior to the salvage team mission, guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) and multiple P-8A Poseidon aircraft joined JSDF-led search efforts from Apr. 9-17, covering more than 5,000 square nautical miles.
The aircraft first went missing 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base, Apr. 9.
The U.S. Navy’s thoughts continue to be with the pilot’s family, friends and colleagues.
The close coordination and cooperation between the U.S. military and JSDF during this operation serves as a reflection of a strong Alliance, forged over decades of mutual support and friendship.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, only missing aircraft’s flight data recorder, minus some key data, part of the canopy and part of the tail surfaces have been recovered to date.
It is not clear whether the entire fuselage has been located, nor whether Japan is pursuing the search on its own.)