Japanese F-35 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 pilot is still missing.

The crash is only the second to involve this sophisticated jet, which is virtually invisible to radar.

United Kingdom officials are in close touch with the U.S. F-35 Joint Programme Office, but there was now very little information available about the incident, the spokesperson said.

The loss of the JASDF F-35A is raising concerns in Washington that China and Russian Federation might try to recover the wreck of this plane from the sea floor to examine its secrets.

"Safety is of the utmost importance and very closely managed on the F-35 program". The JASDF's 302nd Squadron, 3rd Air Wing, reportedly consists of more than a dozen F-35A aircraft, according to The Diplomat. "Big deal", said Tom Moore, a former U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior staff member. It's also not clear yet what caused the aircraft to plunge into the water.

Just before the crash, the pilot contacted the other jets in an attempt to cancel the mission, according to officials.

Search and rescue teams found wreckage from a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter that crashed over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan, but the pilot remains missing, authorities said on Wednesday. The 302nd is responsible for the defense of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

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"We will continue our search and rescue operations all through the night".

The jet had been flying around 84 miles east of the airbase in Aomori Prefecture at approximately 7.30pm local time (10.30pm GMT). In June of 2014, an Air Force F-35A caught fire before take-off because of an engine failure.

Peter Layton, a former Australian Air Force officer and analyst at the Griffith Asia Institute, said the Japanese assembly line would be one of the first places to look for answers.

A September crash of an F-35B - the Marine Corps model of the plane - in SC prompted the Pentagon to suspend most flights for about two weeks to inspect a fuel line investigators believed may have contributed to the incident.

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

A spokesman for South Korea's defense ministry said there was no plan to ground that country's newly delivered F-35s, as there were no recommendations from the United States to do so.

Iwaya met with Kazumasa Taneichi, mayor of Misawa, a city that hosts the air base, to offer his apologies at the Defense Ministry.

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