Fighter jet disappears over Pacific Ocean

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

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

The plane's pilot is also missing.

A Japanese F-35A stealth fighter jet with one pilot on board disappeared off the radar while on a training mission over the Pacific late Tuesday, the defence ministry said.

Earlier, Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported that an air force F-35A disappeared from radar screens during a routine training flight.

The Japanese F-35 fighter jet missing in the Pacific could be a major security headache for the US if Russian Federation or China locate the state-of-the-art fighter jet first, experts warn.

"And then we will do our best to probe the cause", he said, adding that Japan's 12 remaining F-35A fighters will be grounded for the time being.

The fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet has been lauded as a game-changer in the world of military aviation, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.

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Tokyo announced in December it would be buying 147 of the planes, making it the biggest customer for the aircraft besides the United States. It has not been revealed where the plane that went missing yesterday was built.

If confirmed, the Japanese loss would be the second involving the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.

Bristling with sophisticated technology and weaponry, the F-35 is the result of the most expensive weapons program in America's military history, valued at $406.1 billion.

Japan plans to buy 147 Lockheed-Martin-made F-35s, a lot of them F-35As, over the next decade.

The first U.S. combat mission conducted by an F-35 happened in October when a Marine Corps jet launched off the amphibious warship USS Essex struck targets in Afghanistan.

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