The F35A stealth fighter disappeared at approximately 7.30pm local time Tuesday, reports the Asahi Shimbun. The jet took off with several other aircraft from the Misawa Air Base, roughly 135km northeast of Misawa City, for a regular night-time training exercise about half an hour before the disappearance.
The aircraft is believed to have one pilot on board.
Japanese F35 fighter, disappears from the radar over the Pacific, no radio contact https://t.co/dgJz4SIXFV via @TrafficNewsJp pic.twitter.com/QMiWWWfIgA
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) April 9, 2019
The F35A is a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, and is the smallest and lightest of the Lockheed Martin series of multirole fighters.
The jet has been deployed at the base since January 2018. Japan’s Ministry of Defense currently has plans to deploy a total of 42 aircraft to the base.
In February, a Japanese F-2 fighter jet crashed into the Sea of Japan about 130km from its air base in Fukuoka, but thankfully the two crew members were recovered successfully by search and rescue teams.