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Japanese F-35A Makes Emergency Landing During Routine Training Flight - Video

© Japan Air Self-Defense ForceJapan's first F-35
Japan's first F-35 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
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The Japan Air Self-Defence Force currently has 27 F-35 aircraft in its inventory, with Tokyo planning to acquire a total of 45 planes – 27 F-35As and 18 F-35Bs, by 2023, and as many as 120 more after that.
A JASDF F-35A was forced to make an emergency landing at the Hakodate Airport on Hokkaido Island on Wednesday after an unspecified problem beset the plane, The Japan Times has reported, citing the Defence Ministry.

The military is said to be looking into the incident, which was said to have taken place after noon, with concerns that ‘something wrong’ happened to the Lockheed Martin-made jet’s airframe in the middle of a training flight, causing unspecified issues as the jet flew over the Sea of Japan about 190 km west of its home base.

The incident prompted the ASDF to postpone the training of all F-35s and to dispatch mechanics from Misawa to Hokadate to investigate the problem. According to NHK, a second F-35A flying in formation along the troubled plane also landed at Hakodate to confirm the integrity of the aircraft.
The ASDF’s fleet of F-35As is stationed at the Misawa Air Base, situated on northern Honshu island, about 125 km southeast of Hakodate Airport.
Photos and footage of the troubled jet parked at Hakodate Airport obtained by Japanese media show no outward signs of damage, with no injuries reported. In a video shared by NHK, workers could be seen carrying a giant stepladder toward the plane’s open canopy. It is unclear from the video whether the ladder is supposed to assist the pilot in getting out, or to allow mechanics to inspect the aircraft.
The emergency landing forced the dual-use airport to briefly close its runway.
The incident is the second of its kind since March 2021, when another F-35A reportedly suffered problems with components controlling its engine, and made an emergency landing at Aomori Airport in Aomori Prefecture, also in northern Japan.
The ASDF lost an F-35A based out of Misawa in April 2019, with the aircraft disappearing from radar screens about 135 km east of Aomori during a training mission. A Japanese and US naval search for the downed plane tracked down its wreckage, with the pilot’s remains recovered in June of 2019. The incident prompted Japan to temporarily ground its fleet of F-35As. A military investigation blamed spatial disorientation of the fighter’s veteran pilot for the incident, concluding that nothing was wrong with the plane.
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Problems with the F-35, particularly the jet’s single engine design – which rules out emergency operation over sea areas, have sparked criticisms in Japanese media over Tokyo’s decision to buy the planes. Japan is in the process of creating a domestic sixth-gen stealth fighter to complement and eventually replace the F-35 known as the F-X, with plans to fit the fighter with dual engines, and beef up its weapons capacity compared to the US aircraft. Lockheed Martin has proposed co-developing the sixth-gen jet with Japanese firms, using the F-22’s airframe and the F-35’s sensors and electronics.
In this Feb. 28, 2017, photo, a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II from the 323 Squadron, Royal Netherlands Air Force flies through the nicknamed Star Wars Canyon on the Jedi transition in Death Valley National Park, Calif. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.09.2021
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