Wreckage of 'crashed' Japanese stealth fighter jet found

A Japanese F-35A fighter jet is missing; remaining 12 are grounded

Japanese F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft Reported Missing Over The Pacific Ocean

There was no immediate sign of the pilot, a major in Japan's Air Self-Defence Force.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that it was not grounding its fleet of more than 250 U.S. F-35 fighter jets but was monitoring the situation.

The U.S. Marine Corps version of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies over the Atlantic test range at Patuxent River Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland in a February 22, 2012 photo.

It was not immediately clear if the aircraft had crashed, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin touts the high-tech fighter as "virtually undetectable" and says it allows the United States and its allies to dominate the skies with its "unmatched capability and unprecedented situational awareness".

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According to the Defense Ministry, the missing pilot was a seasoned veteran with about 3,200 hours of flight experience including about 60 hours of flying an F-35A.

The fate of the pilot was also unclear, a ministry spokesman said.

The country's Air Self-Defense Force said the stealth jet, an F-35A model, went missing while flying off the eastern coast of Aomori.

The fact that the Japanese pilot called for a mission abort but apparently did not issue a mayday call indicates a possible instrumentation problem, possibly with the plane's wiring, Layton said.

Breaking down the differences between the F-35 A, B and C, and taking a closer look at the specialized construction techniques that play a part in the stealth engineering of each craft.

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But it was still not clear exactly what happened to the plane by late Wednesday afternoon, a Japanese air force official told AFP. U.S. Forces Japan said it was supporting Japanese-led search and rescue efforts being conducted on sea and in the air.

"In fact, President Trump wrote to PM Lee last month welcoming Singapore's plans to acquire the F-35", he said.

"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35", a spokesperson said.

The lost aircraft, assembled in Japan, cost 14 billion yen ($125.98 million), several million dollars more than one purchased directly from the United States.

Japan's first F-35A squadron has just been put into operation at Misawa air base and the government plans to buy 87 of the poachers to modernize its air defenses as China's military power grows.

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