The Japanese Air Self-Defence Force has announced that an F-35 has been lost over the Pacific Ocean.
It is understood that the jet was flying 84 miles east of northern Japan at 1027 GMT this morning when it dropped off radar, the military said in a statement.
Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported this morning that this happened during a routine training flight.
The local Hachinohe Coast Guard Department have deployed two patrol vessels and conduct search activities in the sea area, aircraft are also understood to be lost.
Earlier this year, the Japanese National Security Council and Cabinet authorised acquisition for 105 additional F-35s beyond the already approved 42 F-35s in the Japan Programme.
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 105 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 105 aircraft will be 63 F-35As and 42 STOVL jets to be produced and delivered in the future.
More on this as it develops.