F-35 fell in Japan, still missing. It is feared that it may have fallen into the hands of Russians or Chinese

The United States and Japan fear that the remnants of the F-35 that fell last week at sea may fall into the hands of Russians or Chinese.

The US and Japan have covered the affected sea area with a massive search device. The research involves P-8A Poseidon aircraft, intended for anti-submarine combat, and the destroyer Uss Stethem, equipped with the powerful Aegis radar system.

B-52 strategic bombers also took off from Guam. The Americans, given the results of the research, have attributed an unprecedented priority to the recovery of the aircraft.

The Japanese F-35 sank into the sea off northern Japan. This was confirmed the following day by the Japanese Defense Minister, Takeshi Iwaya. The aircraft had disappeared from radar after taking off from Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture. The plane was flying along with four other three F-35s about 135 kilometers from the base. On the surface of the sea some wrecks of the aircraft were found, while the pilot is still missing.

The first F-35A, with a unit cost of 90 million dollars, entered service with the Japanese Air Force last year, replacing the F-4 aircraft.

Last Tuesday was the first fatal accident involving Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter plane and Tokyo requested US assistance to investigate the cause of the accident. The Japanese Defense established a F-35A squadron in Misawa last month; Tokyo intends to deploy 105 F-35A in all, in addition to 42 F-35B short takeoff in view of the conversion of the country's helicopter carrier.

Japan, Nova reports, has already ordered dozens of F-35 fighter-bombers, and also intends to modernize its interceptor fleet, replacing the Mitsubishi F-2 and F-15J aircraft, which should be withdrawn from service around the 2030. But Tokyo has recently given up on developing a fifth-generation combat aircraft on its own. In recent years the Ministry of Defense had identified three alternatives to replace the expensive F-16-derived aircraft, and independently developed by Japan with the help of US jet engines. The ministry had considered the option of independently developing a new aircraft, based on Mitsubishi's X-2 Shinshin technology demonstrator (Atd-x); other options were the development of an aircraft in collaboration with allied countries, or the extension of the operational life of the F-2. This last option, however, was discarded in the light of growing military activism and the rapid modernization of the armed forces by China and Russia.

In recent months, the US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has formalized the proposal to Japan of a future interceptor aircraft that should combine the technologies of the fifth-generation US aircraft F-22 Raptor, of which the US has so far banned export, and F- 35 Lighting II. Lockheed formalized the proposal in response to a "Request for information" ("Request of information", Rfi) from Tokyo, which aroused the interest of other defense giants, including the British Bae Systems. The Lockheed project, which will involve highly sensitive military technologies, will test US President Trump's commitment to facilitate arms exports to allied countries: the new fighter plane, in fact, “will combine the F-22 and the 'F-35 and could be superior to both, "say the sources. Tokyo would also like to see offers from Boeing and BaE Systems.

According to Japanese Defense sources, Lockheed Martin also proposed that Japanese aerospace and technology companies be responsible for more than half of the development and production of the future fifth-generation interceptor fighter. The future fighter plane, which Tokyo would like to introduce into service starting from the 2030, would be essentially a modernized and updated version of the F-22, especially as regards the electronic and avionics equipment.


F-35 fell in Japan, still missing. It is feared that it may have fallen into the hands of Russians or Chinese