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F-35 fighter jet crashes: Japan finds wreckage, searches for pilot

A F-35A stealth fighter jet of Japan's Self-Defence Forces, the same model as the one that crashed.
A F-35A stealth fighter jet of Japan's Self-Defence Forces at Misawa airport in Aomori prefecture — the same model as the one that crashed. Photo: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. and Japanese search and rescue teams found the wreckage Wednesday of an F-35 fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean, but the pilot's still missing.

Details: The F-35A fighter jet vanished from radar during a training mission from Misawa Air Base in north-eastern Japan Tuesday evening local time. Japan has grounded its 12 remaining F-35 fighter jets at the Misawa base temporarily, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said, according to the BBC.

Between the lines: The Lockheed Martin stealth jet is "the most affordable, lethal, supportable and survivable aircraft ever to be used," according to the F-35 Lightning II Program web site.

The big picture: This was the second crash involving the stealth jet within 7 months. In September, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B fighter jet crashed in Beaufort, South Carolina. Investigators found a faulty tube was the likely cause of that crash, which prompted the Pentagon to temporarily suspend F-35 flight operations.