Japanese Research Ship Rushes to Find Lost F-35 Stealth Fighter - Report

© REUTERS / Mandatory credit KyodoA Japan Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet, which Kyodo says is the same plane that crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, is seen at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Komaki Minami factory in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 2017
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet, which Kyodo says is the same plane that crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, is seen at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Komaki Minami factory in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 2017 - Sputnik International
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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 defence ministry and the maritime self-defence 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.

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force helicopter conducts rescue and search operation at the site where an Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, off Aomori prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 10 2019 - Sputnik International
US Media Mull 'Nightmare Scenario' of Russia, China Finding Japanese F-35 Debris
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.

READ MORE: Japan’s F-35s Made Seven Precautionary Landings Before Fighter Went Missing

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 kilometres (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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