Japanese military confirms F-35 crash & discovery of wreckage
A Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) spokesman has confirmed that debris from the F-35A plane, which lost radar contact with ground control at Misawa Air Base during a routine training mission off the coast of Aomori Prefecture on Tuesday, has been found.
"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35," he told Reuters.
It is the second F-35 crash in the fighter's history, and the first one outside the US. The plane was less than a year old and was delivered to the JASDF last year. It was flying with three others of the same make about 135km off the coast when it disappeared.Also on rt.com Exorbitant cost, multiple failures, years overdue: A recap of the ongoing F-35 calamity (VIDEO)
Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya grounded the Air Self-Defense Force’s entire fleet of F-35As as a precaution after the aircraft went missing at about 7:30pm local time, half an hour after taking off. At the same time the fighter disappeared from the radar screens, ground control also lost all radio contact with it.
It was reportedly the first F-35A to be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facility in Nagoya. In December, Japan announced plans to place an order for 105 more F-35s from the US on top of the 42 it had already bought – a deal which would make Japan the largest international buyer of the troubled plane.
The F-35 is considered the most expensive US military program ever, and a 2018 report by the Project on Government Oversight claims that senior officials involved in developing the aircraft concealed dangerous flaws in its design instead of fixing them in order to avoid paying cost overruns on what was already an enormously expensive project. A 2018 Government Accountability Office report showed the plane had 111 Category One deficiencies that severely restricted its combat readiness, posing the risk of death, severe injury, loss or major damage.Also on rt.com Japanese F-35 fighter jet 'disappears from radar' over Pacific
A February report from the Pentagon further revealed that some of the F-35s' lifespan is nearly four times shorter than expected, and the firing accuracy of the fighter's guns is “unacceptable.” The number of operation-ready planes remained below 60 percent, and previously-uncovered cybersecurity “vulnerabilities” were still wide open.
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