Reuters reported today (10 Apr) that an F-35 stealth fighter belonging to Japan had crashed into the Pacific Ocean and its wreckage had been found. The pilot, however, remains missing.
The aircraft, less than one-year-old, was only in the air for 28 minutes yesterday before it crashed.
“We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35,” a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said. The aircraft crashed in waters that reach a depth of around 1,500 meters, making recovery difficult, the spokesman added.
The aircraft was at the front of a group of four planes out for training maneuvers when it sent an “aborting practice” signal before going down.
Japan has a total of 13 F-35s, including the one that crashed. Its first squadron of F-35s has just become operational.
Last Sep, a US F-35 plane crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina prompting a temporary grounding of the aircraft.
Singapore to pay more than half a billion dollars for first 4 F-35s
In the budget debate in Parliament last month (1 Mar), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that Singapore will be placing an initial order for four F-35 stealth fighter jets from the US.
This is for testing with the option of buying a subsequent eight more, Minister Ng added.
“The Defence Science and Technology Agency’s (DSTA) assessment is that now is an opportune time to put in Singapore’s request,” Minister Ng said, noting that the price of the F-35 has been “steadily falling” due to “healthy orders” from the US and 10 other countries.
“The current unit price of the F-35 ranges from US$90 million (S$122 million) to US$115 million per aircraft, comparable to what we have paid for our F-15SGs,” he revealed.
According to maker Lockheed Martin, the F-35B – the short take-off/vertical landing variant that Singapore is reportedly interested in – costs US$115.5 million (S$156 million).
Hence with 4 F-35B, it will cost about S$624 million altogether for the initial order. The F-35 fighter jet is able to evade enemy’s radar and penetrate deep into enemy’s space without detection.
In his speech, Minister Ng even said that President Trump has welcomed Singapore’s plan to buy their F-35s.
“In fact, President Trump wrote to PM Lee last month welcoming Singapore’s plans to acquire the F-35,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced the “Merdeka Generation Package” for those born between 1950 and 1959. The package includes benefits like a one-off $100 Passion Silver Card top-up as well as an annual $200 MediSave top-up for 5 years only.