The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday that it would stop searching for the wreckage of an F-35A fighter plane that crashed over the Pacific Ocean.
The fighter plane, which belongs to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, was wrecked during night flight training last month. The pilots whereabouts were unknown and part of the wreckage of the fighter plane was found. Japans defense minister, Iwaya, said the search would continue.
Four F-35A fighter planes, including the crashed fighter planes, took off from the base of Sanzawa in northeastern Japan at about 7 p.m. on April 9 and began training flights. The crashed fighter plane flew for about 30 minutes over the Pacific Ocean 135 kilometers east of Sanze base, then disappeared on the ground radar screen. At that time, the crashed fighter aircraft issued a suspension signal for only about one minute.
Concerned about the leak of military secrets, the U.S. Navy quickly embarked on a search.
The U.S. Navy responded abnormally quickly by dispatching a guided missile destroyer, the Stessim, and a P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to search for the wrecked area with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and the Maritime Security Agency, the Associated Press reported.
From 9 to 17 April, the United States searched about 17,000 square kilometres of sea surface, and then deployed a CRV21 salvage device capable of remote operation at 6,000 metres below the surface.
CURV21 found part of the wreckage. Japans defense minister, Iwata, said the United States had found part of the wreckage of the flight data recorder, but could not obtain the data. Japan also used deep-sea salvage equipment to find the cockpit cover and other components.
[or affecting military purchases
This is the second crash of the F-35 series and the first crash of the F-35A.
After finding the wreckage of the flight data recorder, the United States gradually reduced its search efforts. Iwaya said Japans deep-sea salvage equipment also left the wrecked waters, but sea and underwater searches continued. We will continue to search for and find the missing pilots and aircraft, and try our best to clarify the cause.
Media reports suggest that the findings may change Japans plans to buy F-35 series fighters.
The F-35 fighter plane flew successfully for the first time in 2006, carrying advanced weapon systems and possessing stealth and supersonic cruising capabilities. It is one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world. This series of fighters is divided into three types: F-35A, F-35B and F-35C, which are conventional takeoff and landing, short takeoff/vertical landing and aircraft carrier takeoff and landing. The Abe government plans to buy 147 F-35 fighters, including 105 F-35A fighters, each costing about $90 million.
After the crash, 12 F-35A fighters at Sanze Base have been grounded so far. Iwata said earlier that the crashed fighter aircraft had safety problems, landed preventively in September 2017 due to problems associated with cooling systems, and landed in August 2018 due to navigation problems.
The crashed fighter was purchased from Lockheed Martin, the US military giant, and assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan. It was less than a year old and was the first F-35 fighter assembled in Japan. The Japanese government had hoped to turn Japan into a regional assembly and maintenance center for F-35 fighters.
Source of this article: Xinhua responsible editor: Li Xi_N2587