Warthog Defense / YouTube
— Defenseworld.net (@defenseworld) April 9, 2019
A Lockheed Martin F-35A fell off the radar Tuesday, April 9 just after taking off from Misawa air base with three other F-35s. While some parts were found early on Wednesday, the search for the pilot and crucial parts of the stealthy aircraft are still on. The hunt, it turns out, could get tricky.
— Manu Gómez (@GDarkconrad) April 9, 2019
Japan’s use of the F-35 started only last year. Adding the F-35A’s capabilities to their force is part of a plan to deter potential threats from powers like North Korea and China. But if another country like China or Russia manages to find the wreckage before it is recovered by Japan or the U.S., that could mean some free technology knowledge for competing countries. Yikes!
Even if it’s just parts, former Italian Air Force pilot David Cenciotti states:
“…There are still lots of interesting parts that could be studied to get some interesting details: a particular onboard sensor or something that can’t be seen from the outside but could be gathered by putting your hands on chunks of the aircraft intakes or exhaust section, on the radar reflectors, etc.”
The remaining twelve F-35A’s will remain grounded as the search continues.
Japan aims to be the top buyer of the F-35A, $100 million “5th generation” fighter plane. They plan on getting at least 150 more.
It is the lightest, smallest variant of the F-35 and boasts an internal 25 mm cannon and is expected to match the F-16 in maneuverability, instantaneous high-G performance, as well as perform better in stealth, payload, range and more. It was declared combat ready in 2016.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 10, 2019