Japan preparing to resume F-35 flights
NHK -- Jun 05
NHK has learned that the 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.

The missing aircraft, which was procured from the United States, went down in waters off Aomori Prefecture in early April. 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.

The ministry plans to take steps to prevent a recurrence, such as beefing up pilot training on the ground, and will try to ensure the safety of its remaining fleet of 12 F-35 stealth combat jets before resuming flights.

News source: NHK
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