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‘F-35 Curse’: Another F-35 Crashed During Training Mission, Now In Japan

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'F-35 Curse': Another F-35 Crashed During Training Mission, Now In Japan

F-35A joint strike fighter. Click to see full-size image

On April 10th, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces confirmed that one of its F-35A joint strike fighters crashed into the sea off the Aomori Prefecture in the norther of the country.

The Self-Defense Force and Coastguard dispatched vessels to carry out search and rescue operations. A spokesperson confirmed that the wreckage was recovered but the pilot was still missing.

Eight ships and seven aircraft, including a U.S. Navy P-8 Orion maritime patrol plane, are taking part in search and rescue efforts.

It is yet unclear what the reason behind the crash was, since officials said the pilot was accompanied by 3 other F-35A fighter jets on a training mission on April 9th.

Initially officials claimed there were no reports of a problem prior to losing contact.

Later on April 10th, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters that the pilot had signaled that he needed to abort the training mission shortly before communication was lost and the aircraft disappeared from radar.

The aircraft was at the front of a group of four planes out for training maneuvers when it sent an “aborting practice” signal and then disappeared from the radar, Iaway said.

“We’ll need to cooperate with the US forces and I believe arrangements are being made for this,” also adding that the priority was to determine the cause of the accident.

A Japanese Self-Defense Forces spokesperson said that the fighter jet was less than 1 year old and was delivered in May 2018. It was the first to be assembled in Japan and flew for 28 minutes before going down. The plane had logged a total of 280 hours in the air since its first flight.

13 F35As are currently deployed at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan, and it’s set to become the country’s next-generation mainstay fighter. The remaining 12 F-35A fighter jets are grounded while the investigation is being conducted.

The manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd was asked by Reuters to provide a comment, but there was no response. The lost aircraft cost 14 billion yen ($125.98 million), several million dollars more than one purchased directly from the United States.

The Japanese F-35A, according to reports was the first ever A variant of the joint strike fighter to crash.

A F-35B fighter jet crashed after a short take off and landing (STOVL) near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina in September, prompting a temporary grounding of the aircraft. It’s believed the cause of the crash was the result of a faulty fuel tube.

Lockheed Martin is also currently working on a C variant to operate off carriers.

Following the September incident, the entire F-35 fleet was grounded for inspection. Israel and Australia also grounded their fleets.

Earlier, in 2017 Australia grounded its F-35 fighter jets after a promised fix was not implemented.

Despite “only” 2 F-35s crashing, the most expensive military project ever continues to be plagued by constant issues. The F-35 program is expected to cost most than $1.5 trillion over the course of its 55-year lifespan, although the cost of each aircraft is expected to fall to $80 million by 2020.

A report from January 30th, 2019 obtained by Bloomberg showed that service-life of initial F-35B short-takeoff-vertical landing jets bought by Marine Corps “is well under” expected service life of 8,000 fleet hours; “may be as low as 2,100″ hours Pentagon test office said in 2018 annual report.

US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters that the F-35 fighter jet “has a lot of opportunity for more performance.”

“Interim reliability and field maintenance metrics to meeting planned 80% goal not being met, test office director Robert Behler said in new assessment as improvements “are still not translating into improved availability”

  • Current fleet performance “well below” that benchmark
  • Cybersecurity testing of aircraft in 2018 showed some previous vulnerabilities “still have not been remedied,” assessment says
  • Amount of time needed to repair aircraft and return to flying status “has changed little” in 2018; remains “higher than” rate needed to indicate progress as aircraft fleet numbers and flying hours increase, assessment says
  • Computerized maintenance tool known as “ALIS” doesn’t “yet perform as intended,” as some data and functions deficiencies “have a significant effect on aircraft availability” and launching flights
  • Maintenance personnel, pilots “must deal with pervasive problems with data integrity, completeness on a daily basis,” tester says
  • Testing through September of Air Force model gun intended for air-to-ground attack indicates accuracy “unacceptable,” DoD tester said”

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  • John

    Only 280 hours of flight and it crashed? This is a very bad one.

    • Concrete Mike

      Fuck the plane, pilot is still missing!

      • goingbrokes

        Maybe the helmet killed him.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      nope, is just made in america, expect more of the same.

  • JustPassingThrough

    kill the pilots.
    kill the passengers.
    keep the shareholders happy.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    small wings………… shit happens.

  • jj from aussie

    When you place all of your eggs in one half winged, paper thin skinned, flawed basket case of multi million lines of code to keep it in the air, there is only one resultant conclusion, the pilot is a sure candidate for collateral damage buried by profit.

  • JHK

    Even HardOff has a 3 month warranty for every kind of trinket.

    Its time for the East to grow some balls, and stop cucking to the new corporate world order.

    The Axis should now consider seizing every western asset sitting in Asia. I mean like google amazon facebook starbucks coca cola, all the banks, everything.

    Asians are war hardened mofos, and can handle anything. But westerners will cry for sure, and even run to their jew friends for protection.

    The west thinks their nukes will protect them, but aucontraire their nukes will spell their end (they are athiest pagans who have no concept of retribution or hell). Its better to punish them now to save them lest we dirty our own hands by letting them exist.

  • Sephy

    It had to crash to show off it’s stealthiness so that it could disappear from the radar.

  • iosongasingsing

    This jet in common with the Sukoi has only the number 35, so the Egyptians want the Russian original.

  • Alberto Garza

    maybe the pilot turned off its transpopnder and landed in russia or china its a stealth aircraft after all

  • AM Hants

    Not a good advert.

  • Barba_Papa

    Schadenfreude much? :D

    This shows what a waste having such an expensive aircraft can be, as most countries can only afford a handful so each inevitable crash represents not only a terrible waste of taxpayer money, each loss will be deeply felt as there are so few of them to begin with. The Netherlands had about 200+ F-16’s at the height of the Cold War, we lost about 20-30 in crashes, that still left a significant force to carry on. We can only afford about 35. You lose one or two per year and that will significantly decrease your fighting strength over time. I reckon that only the US and Israel will not be impacted by this as the US will just print more money to buy more aircraft and Israel will just order the US to give them more aircraft.

    Having said that, in all seriousness though, while it is fun to make fun of the flying lemon, so far the number of aircraft that have become permanent garden ornaments is still not out of the ordinary. More will probably start to crash as more will enter service with more and more countries.

  • Jan Lavicka

    the inferiror and under-human terrorists are falling down, nothing but good

  • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

    “… the aircraft disappeared from radar”
    So the JSDF confirms its not a stealth plane/the stealth properties does not work?