An F-35 fighter jet of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) disappeared from radar in northern Japan on Tuesday during a drill, the ASDF quoted by local media said.
The fighter jet, specifically an F-35A deployed at Misawa Air Base in northeastern Japan, lost contact over the Pacific at about 7:27 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday during the drill, according to the ASDF.
The fighter jet was flying with three other jets off the coast of Japan's Aomori Prefecture, about 135 km east of the base, when it disappeared, the ASDF said, adding that a search operation has been launched.
The ASDF will ground the 12 remaining F-35As for the time being, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said.
Japan began deploying the F-35As in January 2018 to replace the aging F-4 fighter jets.