F-35 fighter jet crash confirmed as £77m wreckage recovered

F-35 fighter jet crash confirmed as £77m wreckage recovered

F-35 fighter jet crash confirmed as £77m wreckage recovered

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force is confirming that one of its 13 F-35 fighter jets crashed into the Pacific during a training exercise.

"The Defence Science and Technology Agency's (DSTA) assessment is that now is an opportune time to put in Singapore's request", Minister Ng said, noting that the price of the F-35 has been "steadily falling" due to "healthy orders" from the USA and 10 other countries.

Last Sep, a US F-35 plane crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC prompting a temporary grounding of the aircraft.

The ASDF's radar lost track of the jet at 7:27 p.m., when it was about 135 km east of Misawa Air Base in the prefecture.

Reports suggest that the plane lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from the airbase along with three other aircraft.

"We'll need to cooperate with U.S. forces and I believe arrangements are being made", Mr Iwaya said.

That discovery led the ministry to conclude that the state-of-the-art fighter - which cost more than ¥10 billion each - had plunged into the sea.

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(The first four F-35As were built in the USA and initially used for training Japan's F-35 pilots at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.) Mitsubishi previously licensed the design of the General Dynamics F-16 to build Japan's F-2 multirole fighter, the aircraft the F-35A is meant to replace. The remaining F-35s will be grounded until the cause of Tuesday's crash is determined.

It is only the second F-35 to crash in the two-decades it has been flying and could reignite concern about the F-35 having only one engine.

The other pilots participating in the flight exercise did not see the crash occur because it was nighttime and the aircraft was flying distant from the others.

The aircraft crashed in waters that reach a depth of around 1,500 metres, making recovery hard, the official said.

Lockheed said it was standing by to support the ASDF as needed. The Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation. In September, a US Marine Corps F-35 crashed in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Under guidelines approved in December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 105 F-35As, costing about $90 million each. A first squadron of the JASDF F-35As with 80 members was formed in March at Misawa, according to the defense ministry.

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