The Japanese F-35 that crashed off the coast of Japan has been found, and recovery efforts are underway, a U.S. Air Force commander has said.
“The aircraft’s been located. It’s now in the recovery aspect,” said Charles Brown, Commander Pacific Air Forces, in a briefing for reporters in New York yesterday.
Since the Japanese-built jet disappeared early in April, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and the US military have poured searched for its wreckage as it could expose sensitive military technology if retrieved by China or Russia.
The Japanese National Security Council and Cabinet recently authorised acquisition for 104 additional F-35s beyond the already approved 42 F-35s.
Total procurement is now established at 147 F-35 aircraft which will make Japan the largest international customer in the F-35 Programme.
Japan originally selected the F-35A to replace Japan’s aging F-4 aircraft. Japan’s latest decision to further extend the requirement by another 104 F-35s to replace 100+ pre-MSIP F-15Js reflects Japanese confidence in the jet, say Lockheed.
In addition to the 42 F-35As already authorised, Japan also approved for the first time, acquisition of a STOVL version. Expected mix of the additional 102 aircraft will be 62 F-35As and 42 STOVL jets to be produced and delivered in the future.