The search is on for a lost F-35A stealth jet that Russia and China would love to find
New York Daily News
Japanese military officials lost sight of an F-35A stealth jet Tuesday and U.S. officials find no humor in the irony.
The high-tech American-made fighter jet disappeared more than 80 miles off the northeast Japanese coast and there’s concern it could be recovered by Russian or Chinese naval vessels that patrol the area.
“Bottom line is that it would not be good,” retired U.S. Air Force Lt. General told Business Insider. The F-35 reportedly houses the most costly weapons systems ever manufactured. The plane is worth $90 million.
While China and Russia might be able to reverse engineer the technology they recover, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to reproduce a fully functioning F-35. The condition in which the aircraft is found would also be a factor in studying its composition. The jet reportedly disappeared over the Pacific Ocean roughly 30 minutes after taking off.
The missing plane was on a training exercise with three other stealth fighters when it went missing. The status of its sole pilot is unclear.
Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force grounded its 12 remaining F-35 planes following the Tuesday night mishap, according to CBS News. There were no known reports of mechanical problems prior to the plane’s disappearance.
CNN reports that Japanese military officials committed in December to ordering 147 F-35’s — some of which are built in the U.S. and some of which are constructed in Japan. It’s unclear where the missing F-35A originated.
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