Tokyo announced that the whole fleet of Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) F-35A stealth fighters would be temporarily grounded in the wake of a plane crash that happened during drills.
However, Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya announced that Tokyo would continue buying American fighter jets despite the recent F-35 crash in the northern part of the country.
An F-35A joint strike fighter belonging to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) fleet reportedly disappeared from radars, 135 kilometers (84 miles) east of the Misawa Air Base.
The JASDF said it has found what could be debris from the missing stealth fighter jet. We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35, a JASDF spokesman told Reuters.
Iwaya also noted that Washington had promised Japan full support in investigating the catastrophe by sending a ship that could conduct deep sea search and recovery operations.
The missing jet was reportedly the first F-35A assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facility in Nagoya.
A report on the F-35 last year from the US Government Accountability Office showed that the aircraft still had 111 Category One deficiencies that may cause death, severe injury, loss or major damage.
This critically restricted the combat readiness capabilities of Japanese armed forces using the joint striker aircraft.
Japan announced its plans to buy an additional 105 F-35 aircraft to supplement its originally planned force of 42 F-35 jets, with the additional order’s cost estimated to exceed 1 trillion yen (nearly $8.9 billion).
The anticipated purchase makes Japan the largest international buyer of F-35 aircraft.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Innovation News 2019.