Daunting Salvage Task Awaits Japanese F-35 Investigators Baffled By Crash (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published April 11, 2019)
By Tim Kelly
TOKYO --- Two days after one of Japan’s F-35 stealth fighters plunged into the Pacific and no closer to finding out why it happened, investigators face a daunting task to recover what remains of the highly classified jet from the ocean depths.

Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) investigators have found small sections of the F-35’s wing floating in the sea which suggests the advanced aircraft hit the water, but not why it disappeared from radar screens without warning.

“We have not recovered anything that would point to a cause,” an air force official told Reuters as the search continues for the missing pilot.

The remaining wreckage of the $126 million fighter lies at a depth of around 1,500 meters (4922 ft), including the flight data recorder which would shed light on what happened off the coast of northern Japan on Wednesday evening.

Twenty-eight minutes after taking off with three other F-35s from Misawa air base in Aomori prefecture on a night training flight, the jet vanished from military radar at about 7:27 p.m. (1027 GMT), the ASDF said.

The normally stealthy Lockheed Martin jet is fitted with a transponder that pings its position and can be configured to light up on radar scopes during training flights, the air force official said. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.


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Japan Won't Consider Revising F-35A Procurement Plans While Cause Of Crash Still Not Known (excerpt)
(Source: The Japan Times; published Apr 12, 2019)
By Reiji Yoshida
TOKYO --- The Defense Ministry is not considering a revision to its plan to procure a total of 105 F-35A stealth fighters despite the crash Wednesday of one of the jets into the sea off Aomori Prefecture, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Friday.

“We don’t know the cause (of the crash) yet, so we are not thinking of revising the procurement plan now,” Iwaya told a news conference Friday morning.

Given the depth of the water in the area, it is “probably possible” to recover the jet, which is believed to have sunk to the bottom of the sea, if it is ever found, Iwaya added. “But first we need to confirm the situation.”

(…/…)

During the news conference, Iwaya said the Self-Defense Forces are staying “on alert 24 hours a day” to monitor the situation in the area of the crash. But the SDF has yet to detect the military presence of any countries other than Japan and the U.S., Iwaya said. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Japan Times website.

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