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Thursday, April 11, 2019

why many are in race in locating the lost F-35 Japanese aircraft ..

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is a major unit of Lockheed Martin with headquarters at Air Force Plant 4 in Fort Worth, Texas. The company draws upon the history of the former Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations. While the formation of Lockheed Martin in 1995 was a merger of equals, by far the greatest contribution to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics was the product portfolio of Lockheed. This included the C-5, C-130, and C-141 transports as well as the F-2, F-16 (purchased from General Dynamics), F-117, F-22, and F-35 Lightning II. The most important project by far to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the F-35 Lightning II (JSF). Worth a potential $200bn the initial order book is approximately 3,000 excluding almost guaranteed export orders.

The F-35 is the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings. It is a  Fifth-generation all-weather stealth multirole fighter.  Only 355 have been believed to have been built and the  Jet is almost invisible to radar because of its shape and the use of a fiber-mat which absorbs signals rather than reflecting them.   The F-35 is equipped with one machine gun, air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles. It can also carry up to six 910 kg bombs inside the body. It has the ability to operate from land and sea and has previously been hailed as a huge leap forward in aerospace technology.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions. The United States principally funds F-35 development, with additional funding from other NATO members and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.  As the largest and most expensive military program, the F-35 is the subject of much scrutiny and criticism in the U.S. and in other countries. The F-35 first flew on 15 December 2006. In July 2015, the United States Marines declared its first squadron of F-35B fighters ready for deployment.  U.S. plans to buy 2,663 F-35s, which will provide the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps in coming decades.

I did not understand anything on the above ~ other than the fact that all this is about military aircrafts, which countries boast of .. .. recently we heard more on F-16, the one Pakis had .. and one of which was shot down by our hero Abhinandan, who walked through Attari border.  One of the most versatile aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been the mainstay of the Air Force aerial combat fleet. In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday presented two radar images of the engagement with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on February 27 to prove that a Pakistani F-16 was shot down by a MiG-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. “The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used by the PAF on February 27 but also that an IAF MiG-21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16,” Air Vice Marshal (AVM) R.G.K. Kapoor, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Operations (Space), told the media. The images were redacted to avoid revealing certain details for security reasons. The images from the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) show the tracks of the PAF jets and one IAF jet in combat and in the second image, one of the PAF jets disappears. “In the combat that followed, one MiG-21 Bison of the IAF piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down one F-16 of the PAF,” AVM Kapoor said.

Analysis of electronic emissions have shown that the aircraft picked up by the ELINT intercepts from AWACS and radio transcripts indicated F-16s in the area directly in front of Wg. Cdr. Varthaman’s aircraft, he stated. The F-16 crashed and fell across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Indian Army posts in the vicinity of the LoC in Jhangar sector have visually sighted two separate parachutes, AVM Kapoor said. The first was due west, in Sabzkot area and second was, after few minutes, southwest, in Tandar area. The two areas are separated by approximately 8-10 km.

.. .. miles away, into the deep sea, the  US military is desperately trying to recover the wreckage of a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter which crashed over the Pacific yesterday amid fears China and Russia could beat them to it. Yes they are not alone .. .. parts of the tail of the world's most sophisticated stealth jet have already been found after it disappeared off the radar 85 miles east of Misawa, Japan during a training mission. Eight ships and seven aircraft, including a U.S. Navy P-8 Orion maritime patrol plane, are looking for traces of the jet that is believed to have sunk to 5,000ft. The pilot of the aircraft is still missing.  Experts warn that  Russia and China could also be trying to get their hands on the aircraft to discover its secrets. 

Tom Moore, a former senior professional staff member at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted: 'There is no price too high in this world for China and Russia to pay to get Japan's missing F-35, if they can. Big deal.' 'Bottom line is that it would not be good,' retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told Business Insider.   The F-35B's service life 'may be as low as 2,100 [hours],' a quarter of what was expected, due to structural issues. Some jets are expected to hit their service life limit and will need to be retired as early as 2026. It is believed Russia and China could be using their advanced submarines to scour the ocean floor in search of the jet in order to steal vital technology on board.

.. .. the reason -  experts have warned that parts of the jet could easily be replicated if they do recover the wreckage before US or Japanese search teams. 'The usefulness for Russia or China of recovering some or all of the wreckage would depend on how much damage the aircraft sustained upon hitting the water,' Justin Bronk, an combat aviation expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told Business Insider. 'The general shape of the jet is well known, as are its performance characteristics so not much to gain there but parts of radar and other sensors would be prime targets for recover and testing/even attempts at reverse engineering.'

There was no word yet on the fate of the one pilot and a large chunk of the plane remains missing, Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said. 'We have collected part of its tail' in search operations at sea with planes and vessels, Iwaya told reporters.  'We believe it crashed,' he added. The aircraft, less than one-year-old, was the first F-35 to be assembled in Japan and was only in the air for 28 minutes on Tuesday, a defence official said. It was at the front of a group of four planes out for training manoeuvres when it sent an 'aborting practice' signal and then disappeared from the radar, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

Japan's first squadron of the $1million jets became active just 11 days ago after 13 of the jets were formed into a new unit at the Misawa base. The UK government announced on Wednesday it was in close contact with the US's F-35 Joint Office over the crash and was considering grounding its fleet of 17 F-35s in response to the incident. The F-35 crash in the Pacific represents the first ever such opportunity for Russia and China to hunt for one of the planes as the jet has only crashed once before, and that time was on US soil.   Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the aircraft, said it was standing by to support the Japanese Air Self Defense Force as needed. The Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.  Japan started deploying the expensive U.S.-made F-35s since last year, part of its plan to bolster its defense spending and weapons capability in the coming years to counter potential threats from North Korea and China.

Under guidelines approved in December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 105 F-35As, costing about 10 billion yen ($90 million) each. Early reports suggest Tuesday's crash was a system failure and which could point to something being missed in the production process, experts said.  Tuesday's incident was the first F-35 crash since A US pilot was forced to eject midair after the $100million fighter jet crashed in South Carolina last year. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Apr 2019.

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