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United Kingdom monitoring situation of 17 F-35s after Japan crash
11 April 2019, 12:28 | Tara Lloyd
A Japanese F-35A fighter jet is missing; remaining 12 are grounded
Japan has grounded its 12 remaining F-35As at Misawa, as well as other military flights.
"We will do everything in our power to find the missing pilot", Iwaya said.
On Tuesday, an F-35A fighter jet disappeared from radars 135 kilometres (84 miles) east of the Misawa Air Base, located in the country's northern Aomori prefecture.
The F-35 family of jets are the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings.
Defense officials said that the remains of the tail of the F-35A, which belongs to the Air Self-Defense Force's Misawa air base in the prefecture, were recovered from the surrounding ocean of the crash site on the night of April 9.
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The accident could influence Switzerland's decision, but Finland could still pick the F-35 as it is close to Russian Federation, said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
The pilot of the single-seat jet, a major in his 40s, is still missing, a senior Defense Ministry official said.
The aircraft was part of Japan's first F-35 squadron, which entered service 11 days ago, and it was the first to be manufactured by Mitsubishi in Nagoya.
With three other F-35s in the region when the aircraft disappeared, those pilots likely would have seen what happened to the fourth aircraft in their formation and reported the incident to command.
The Japanese air force began using the aircraft in March; it has 13 in its fleet.
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The cost for the additional purchase of F-35s is expected to total about 1.2 trillion yen ($10.7 billion).
Japan plans to buy 147 Lockheed-Martin-made F-35s, a lot of them F-35As, over the next decade.
A U.S. Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon was aware of the reports but declined to comment. Last September, an F-35B (vertical landing variant) crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC.
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.
The F-35C model is the US Navy's version, designed for use off its aircraft carriers.All contain an advanced electronic warfare suite which can allow seamless integration among users within one military or among allies.
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