The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) expects to resume flight operation of a fleet of grounded F-35A fighters, according to NHK report.
The JGSDF has grounded its entire fleet of all F-35As after the crash of fighter jet about 85 miles off the coast of northern Japan on Apr. 9. The F-35A aircraft that went missing on Apr. 9 flight from Misawa Air Base on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu was is the first Japanese-assembled F-35A, and was rolled out in Nagoya on Jun. 5, 2017.
According to NHK, the Japanese Defense Ministry plans to end a major search operation for an F-35 fighter jet that crashed off northern Japan, and prepare to resume flights of the same model.
Only pieces of the engine and main wing have been discovered so far. The pilot is still missing.
Nearly two months after the incident, ministry officials plan to call off the search for the plane’s flight recorder and other key parts, which could offer a clue to what caused the incident. But they will continue a scaled-down search operation, as the aircraft contains highly-classified technologies.
The ministry officials suspect that the pilot lost his equilibrium while flying the jet, according to their analysis of communications data from other F-35 fighters and radar data from their base.
Despite the crash of F-35 fighter jet, Japan plans to buy more of modern F-35 stealth fighter aicraft.
Later May, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Japan plans to buy almost 105 new F-35 Lightning ll stealth fighter jets.
“The United States supports Japan’s efforts to improve its defense capabilities, and in recent months we have sent them a large amount of military equipment,” Trump said at a press conference, announcing Japan’s intention to buy 105 US-made stealth warplanes, giving it the largest F-35 fleet of any US ally.