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Wreckage confirmed to be crashed Japanese F-35 stealth fighter; pilot still missing

55 Comments
By Tim Kelly

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I hope they find the pilot and the pilot is okay.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

There are two possibilities for this crash.

1._This was one of first F-35s to be assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi, so an assembly error could have caused the crash due to the manufacturer inexperience. Given that this was the night time flight, the pilot was flying on instrument and the computer or instrument failure caused the jet to dive into the sea without pilot being aware of it.

2._The Japanese F-35 pilot was inexperienced. JASDF pilots aren't the best trained combat pilots in the world of military and several JASDF fighter jets were lost due to pilot inexperience, such as the F-15J that bellylanded because the pilot forgot to extend the landing gear, or the F-2 that crashed because the jet flipped over in the mid-air during maneuvering due to pilot error back in February of this year.

Either case, this is a concerning situation.

-23 ( +12 / -35 )

the pilot was flying on instrument and the computer or instrument failure caused the jet to dive into the sea without pilot being aware of it.

Can these instruments be hacked? Just need a little c. theory to start a rainy Wednesday morning.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

@quercetum

Can these instruments be hacked?

Cannot be hacked because the F-35 source code is off limit to foreign buyers.

However, let's say certain wires come loose, then the computer could turn off or the display gets turned off, or the helmet mounted display can turn off. The pilot is then flying blind at night, and it's easy to dive into the sea.

This is why I say you cannot rule out an assembly error on the F-35, because it was one of the first Japan assembled unit.

-25 ( +3 / -28 )

After all these planes are invisible and are supposed to disappear from radar.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I hope they locate the pilot and are able to figure out what happened.

It's a shame that some folks are so quick to use this incident as an opportunity to criticize Japan without a single concern for the potential loss of a human life.

26 ( +29 / -3 )

Hopefully they find the pilot alive and well. Thank you to the JSDF for all you do and the risk you take in service of Japan.

21 ( +26 / -5 )

I bet there is a race on to recover this plane! It would be a quite incredible gift if China or Russia got hold of it!

Points up the fact that it's rather crazy to rely on hardware that can be stolen and used against you. You might have a splendid gun, but someone could pick it up while you were asleep and shoot you with it.

There are MUCH better ways of assuring international peace than arms build up.

They wouldn't make money for the arms manufacturers though.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

There are MUCH better ways of assuring international peace than arms build up.

Tell you what. You convince China and Russia to stop producing weapons and you'll have my vote.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Billions of tax payers money on these things, and they already start losing them. Unbelievable.

At least I hope the pilot is safe somewhere.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Firstly, I hope S&R find the pilot asap. Not nice to come to work and not be home again, especially for his waiting family.

1._This was one of first F-35s to be assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi, so an assembly error could have caused the crash due to the manufacturer inexperience

I thought the first 4 delivered to Japan was assembled in USA?

The first one off the MHI assembly line was delivered back in 2017, so if there was a defective assembly, surely that would show up by now.

There are so much redundancy, I doubt it's control related. The fact it fell off the radar + lost contact with the squadron suggests a significant failure to me, like engine out.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

"JASDF pilots aren't the best trained combat pilots in the world of military"

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/japan-aerospace/2018/11/28/japan-prepares-to-stand-up-first-f-35-operational-unit/

"Japan initially trained a cadre of F-35 pilots and personnel with the 944th Operations Group and four of the JASDF’s aircraft at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The Japanese F-35s spent 18 months training at Luke AFB before returning earlier this year to Misawa, located at the northern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu."

Neither do Americans, according to your "expert" views on the subject.

"This was one of first F-35s to be assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi"

And exactly how do you know that?

Oh, well; F-35 assembled in the US have never crashed, ever.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

However, let's say certain wires come loose, then the computer could turn off or the display gets turned off, or the helmet mounted display can turn off. The pilot is then flying blind at night, and it's easy to dive into the sea.

The F35 flight system has builtin redundancy, reconfigurability and has been tested for hull strike (ballistic), electrical arcing, interference etc., and it wouldn't pass for OC if test showed control degradation were detectable by the pilot. IIRC maximum detectable control degradation is set at 25% in worse case scenario.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

10 billion yen? Just give the blueprints to the Chinese and a year later Japan could be buying them for a fraction of that.

They will never be used in anger, such a waste of money.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

"Oh, well; F-35 assembled in the US have never crashed, ever."

Your joking right? Anyway, just to make sure:

F-35 fighter jet crashes in South Carolina, 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-south-carolina-crash-military/f-35-fighter-jet-crashes-in-south-carolina-pilot-ejects-idUSKCN1M82H2

The F35 that crashed in the US was made in the US as well as the one that is missing. Japan only assembles the plane. All the parts come from the US.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Where does this ¥10billion yen figure come from? These outdated accident prone aircraft cost at least ¥7billion yen for training, maintaining, spare parts and upgrades alone.

They can be shot down by S-400 and S-500 systems. Data from japan is sent back to the USA.

as @bertie said, if Russia or China found the plane first, they will become totally obsolete.

wheres my pension money?

i feel sorry for the pilot and his family. He was ordered to fly it, no choice. RIP.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Let's all hope that the pilot can be found alive. And, keep the speculation turned off.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I hope the pilot ejected and can be found safely very soon. It is a tough and dangerous job protecting Japan in a super dangerous region that requires constant training exercises.

@ peeping tom

Oh, well; F-35 assembled in the US have never crashed, ever.

That is simply not true. Almost all aircraft at some point have incidents. And we have no data as to why this plane crashed.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

"@ peeping tom

Oh, well; F-35 assembled in the US have never crashed, ever.

Did you guys REALLY understand my post?!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

" bet there is a race on to recover this plane! It would be a quite incredible gift if China or Russia got hold of it!"

The crash site is well inside Japan's waters.

What do you think would happen if Russia or China attempted to "salvage" it?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Been waiting a long time for this.

I feel this plane is dangerous and should not be flying over Japan. It has a crash history. No F-35 in Japan! All of them should be grounded immediately for public safety.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

I feel this plane is dangerous and should not be flying over Japan. It has a crash history.

No they don't...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Sh1mon M4sada

There are so much redundancy, I doubt it's control related. 

That assumes correct assembly, which may not have been the case with the first batch of Japan assembled F-35s.

@Peeping_Tom

And exactly how do you know that?

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2019040901145&g=soc

空自によると、消息を絶ったのは、同基地の第3航空団第302飛行隊に所属するF35Aで、三菱重工業が組み立てを担当した国内製造の初号機

The crashed jet was the very first unit assembled in Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The plane has been confirmed to have crashed. So the pilot is either dead, or stranded in the middle of the Pacific.

The F-35 was less than a year old and was delivered to the ASDF in May last year

And Japan is buying 87 more of these things ???

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Redtail Swift: Been waiting for this crash a long time? Sure you did. Happy now? Let me see, since this plane was put into service in 2015, todays crash is the 2nd time this plane crashed, so at this moment in time, hardly a crash prone plane.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Bintaro

And Japan is buying 87 more of these things ???

105 more to be exact, but those will be coming from Texas as finished jets. Abe administration has decided to give up on Japan's domestic fighter industry, then it became unnecessary to sustain the domestic industry with the local assembly of the F-35 when Japan no longer pursued a domestic fighter program. This is why Abe administration decided to stop the domestic assembly of the F-35 and turned to straight importation, and spend the money elsewhere, like building up a marine corp.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Stealth jet was put down before, by old weapon, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_F-117A_shootdown

Was it an accident? Was this plane captured by foreign countries?

Big mistery.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Samit Basu

A 2018 US Government Accountability Office report showed the plane had 111 Category One deficiencies that severely restricted its combat readiness, posing the risk of death, severe injury, loss or major damage so I think it is a bit unfair to try and blame it on the Japanese.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Hello Kitty 321

 I think it is a bit unfair to try and blame it on the Japanese.

You are missing my point. This one was the very first unit assembled in Japan, and there are always going to be problems with the first unit. This is why you never buy cars in its first model year, you wait until second or third year so that the problems are sorted out.

The very fact that this was the first unit would make one suspect a possible assembly error with this jet.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The F35s is the 21st Century: "Widowmaker for users"! Lets see when will the client countries acknowledge this!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

rainyday Today  11:12 am JST

So Lockheed Martin is joining Boeing in the club of American aircraft manufacturers whose planes fall out of the skies when they are still brand new?

From the article: "The crash was only the second time an F-35 has gone down since the plane began flying almost two decades ago. It was also the first crash of an A version of the fifth-generation fighter ... "

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Prayers for the missing pilot, his family and friends, and his fellow squadron members.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Each costs around $100 million, slightly more than the cost of buying a fully assembled plane.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope it was insured!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Your joking right? Anyway, just to make sure:

Always wisdom, he’s being sarcastic and his point is that they have.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Each costs around $100 million, slightly more than the cost of buying a fully assembled plane.

Sooooo...why not buy them fully assembled?

Also, shouldn't a DIY kit cost less? (Like at Ikea.)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese Pilot and his family and friends.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hope and pray that they manage to find the pilot alive.

But, in the event that he is deceased, RIP to the pilot and his family.

As for anything else, including why this happened, that is for the investigators.

Recover all wreckage and figure out what happened!

To ensure no further lives are lost, if this is a mechanical issue!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To add to @hello kitty...

A February report from the Pentagon further revealed that some of the F-35s' lifespan is nearly four times shorter than expected, and the firing accuracy of the fighter's guns is “unacceptable.” Worse, the number of operation-ready planes remained below 60 percent, and previously-uncovered cybersecurity “vulnerabilities” were still wide open.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

105 more to be exact,

the F35B (I think about 42?)

Any way, given the pilot had just enough time to broadcast 'abort practice' then silence, I am afraid it's a possibility he might have suffered G-LoC soon after and no time to eject. I hope not, for the sake of his family.

It's safe to assume it's not defection :-), and it's not suicide (ie CFiT).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's alway sad when someone is killed who was giving their life serving and protecting others.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This one was the very first unit assembled in Japan, and there are always going to be problems with the first unit

With all the checks and fault detection on board and the way all sensors are networked, IMHO, if it was incorrectly assembled, the cockpit would light up like a Christmas tree.

As sad as it seems and would be for the pilot and his family, to me 'abort' followed by silence is not hardware related. It could be G-LoC, or disorientation (oh god, I can't even imagine, last word 'abort' and what he might have felt, and what's infront of him). Very sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are two possibilities for this crash.

No there aren't... there are many, including Boeing 737 style design flaws... until the black box is recovered there is no way of knowing what happened.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

last plane to crash out of Misawa was pilot error. Hopefully the pilot is found but the water is still incredibly cold up there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if it was oxygen deprivation which has been a problem with the F35s

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I feel this plane is dangerous and should not be flying over Japan. It has a crash history. No F-35 in Japan! All of them should be grounded immediately for public safety."

Exactly. Where are all the people who cry every time there is even just an emergency landing of a US aircraft, saying it is a safety issue?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Redtail SwiftToday said (at 10:12 am JST today)

Been waiting a long time for this.

I feel this plane is dangerous and should not be flying over Japan. It has a crash history. No F-35 in Japan! All of them should be grounded immediately for public safety.

Two crashes in 20 years and you're declaring the F35 dangerous? That's totally unrealistic. It's not like they're dropping out of the sky left and right, taking hundreds of people with them. I feel that you'd be fine with Japan having no ability to defend itself at all, relying on the US for that while whining about it continuously. There's a word for people like you--"freeloaders."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Your tax dollars hardly working.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Always some military aircraft crashing or having issues especially in Japan. Why??

Lack of training? Poor maintenance? It's starting to become as usual as public shootings are in the states.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Always some military aircraft crashing or having issues especially in Japan. Why??

It is not in Japan. Flying high tech warplanes is not dusting crops. You have to push the envelope and push hard. That is why they call it the Cutting Edge.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Points up the fact that it's rather crazy to rely on hardware that can be stolen and used against you. You might have a splendid gun, but someone could pick it up while you were asleep and shoot you with it.

These things run on software which has military-grade encryption while at rest on storage devices and while communicating between internal and external systems.. Without the software, nothing works.

We all expect that any state who wanted access to the hardware plans already had them, probably over 15 yrs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is the F-22 versus the F-15s. One versus Five. Pilot says to was so easy like clubbing baby seals.

https://youtu.be/EQ7MwfcjCa0

The F-35 is on the cutting edge and takes 25 plus years to develop. Don’t think China or Russia can just salvage a few pieces and reverse engineer it, voila!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if it was oxygen deprivation which has been a problem with the F35s

Yes, I wonder too, because there has been reports of hypoxia symptoms associated with F35s.

The other (remote) possibility is light leak in the helmet which affects vision at night and for which the USN is fixing by replacing the display with OLED screens, but that JASDF may not be. But if that was a problem it would have been discovered during the first night flight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the F-22 versus the F-15s. One versus Five

F35, 20:1 kill ratio....just saying :-)

https://taskandpurpose.com/air-force-f35-red-flag-exercise

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Assuming he ejected safely his survival suit would've kept him OK for a while but it's brutal conditions out there and he's been in the water too long now. Poor guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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