Japan’s fleet of F-35A jets
Japan’s crashed F-35 had navigation & cooling faults, whole fleet forced into 7 emergency landings.
Japan’s fleet of highly sophisticated F-35A jets has been plagued by problems in the last two years, resulting in at least seven emergency landings – including two by the unit that crashed in the Pacific Ocean earlier this month.
Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) had a fleet of thirteen F-35As, before one of the fifth-generation stealth fighters disappeared off radars and crashed off northern Japan on April 9. But the ill-fated jet had issues with its cooling and navigation systems even prior to the crash, Japan’s Ministry of Defense revealed this week.
The cutting-edge fighter had its first accident on April 9 when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean off of northern Japan. The aircraft was stationed at the Air Self-Defense Force’s Misawa Base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture.
Of the 13 planes provided by the United States to Japan, five have been forced to make emergency landings in seven incidents. Of these, two emergency landings were due to faults recorded in the recently crashed jet. The ministry claims it confirmed the aircraft were safe to fly after each case, but a possible connection is still being investigated.
The Ministry of Defense said the emergency landings took place between June 2017 and January 2019 during flight tests and drills. Unplanned returns to base were made after the planes reported issues with systems relating to fuel, hydraulics and other parts. Excluding one case of an error by the aircraft’s monitoring systems, the remaining six saw the fighters inspected and parts replaced before they were confirmed safe to fly.
Final assembly of four of the error reporting planes, including the fighter that went missing April 9, was carried out in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. The other aircraft was built and assembled in the U.S. Earlier reports showed the crashed fighter had issues with its cooling and navigation systems twice, on June 20, 2017, and Aug. 8, 2018, respectively.reports mainichi.jp