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Japanese F-35 fighter jet missing off northern Japan coast

Japanese F-35 fighter jet missing off northern Japan coast

Gen. Amikam Norkin said last May that "we are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East - we might be the first to attack with F-35 in the Middle East".

It is only the second F-35 to crash in the two-decades it has been flying.

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A fighter jet has gone missing off the coast of northern Japan, with a search mission now underway.

"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35", a spokesman for the Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said, adding that the pilot of the aircraft was still missing.

A Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and the USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, joined the Japanese-led search for the pilot, according to a Navy news release Wednesday.

Iwaya added, "I want to express my deepest apologies for giving local residents a great deal of anxiety".

Rome-based aviation expert, pilot, and former Italian Air Force officer David Cenciotti told Fox News on Tuesday that if Russian Federation or China find the aircraft first, "it could present problems depending on what is recovered, when it is recovered and, above all, in which conditions, after impacting the surface of the water".

He said 12 other F-35s at the Misawa base would be grounded.

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No problems with the aircraft had previously been reported, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

A representative for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said the company had no immediate comment.

The cost for the additional purchase of F-35s is expected to total about 1.2 trillion yen ($10.7 billion). The pilot had 3,200 hours of flight time, with 60 hours on the F-35, the official said.

The ASDF received the aircraft, created to penetrate enemy defences by evading radar detection, last May, its spokesperson said.

The fighter was one of the first 13 F-35A aircraft deployed in Japan.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement that it was standing by to support the Japanese Air Self Defense Force as needed. The Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.

It was the first crash of the A variant of the fifth-generation fighter. The other crash involved a U.S. Air Force F-35A.

Iwaya said the stealth jets were about 135 kilometers off the east coast of Aomori prefecture when contact was lost with the stricken plane.

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