Japan Deploys Special Research Ship to Find Lost F-35

Officials rush to protect fighter jet's secrets

Image Credits: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen / Wikimedia Commons.

The research vessel, which belongs to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, is fitted with advanced scanning equipment and is carrying an unmanned submarine capable of operating hundreds of meters below the ocean surface.

Rushing to recover the wreckage of a Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) F-35A stealth fighter which crashed earlier this month off the country’s northeastern coast, Japanese authorities have announced the deployment of a special vessel as part of the search effort.

“At this time, following a request from the defense ministry and the maritime self-defense forces, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology research vessel Kaimei has joined the search,” Japan’s Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said, as quoted by Financial Times.

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According to the newspaper, the ship is equipped with echo-sounders and magnetometers, and is also carrying an unmanned submersible capable of reaching depths of up to 3,000 meters.

Earlier this month, Iwaya also said that “the F-35A is an airplane that contains a significant amount of secrets that need to be protected”, and that the country would ground all of its aircraft of this type in the wake of the incident.

(Photo by flickr, [email protected])

The JASDF’s F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, flown by 41-year-old Major Akinori Hosomi, reportedly disappeared from radars on 9 April during a training flight about 135 kilometers (84 miles) east of the Misawa Air Base in Aomori prefecture.

This incident became the first case of an F-35A crashing as the warplane has entered service in various countries after being introduced in 2016.

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