Pentagon has confirmed on Friday that high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance aircraft joins the search for F-35A fighter jet and missing Japanese pilot.
According to the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes, the U.S. Air Force U-2 tactical reconnaissance plane has joined the search for Hosomi and the F-35A Lightning II fighter he was flying when it disappeared just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Previously several sources reported the appearance of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in the area south of the crash point of F-35.
The U-2, commonly known as Dragon Lady, delivers critical imagery and signals intelligence to decision makers throughout all phases of conflict, including peacetime indications and warnings, low-intensity conflict, and large-scale hostilities.
It is worth noting that U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula in an interview with the Business Insider, expressed his concerns about if Russia or China find crashed F-35A fighter jet first.
“Bottom line is that it would not be good” for the future of US airpower if Japan or the US don’t quickly recover the jet, David Deptula told.
Russia and China may be interested in finding the debris and the plane itself to further explore them.
According to the Defense News, the pilot of the crashed F-35, who the Japan Air Self-Defense Force identified as 41-year-old Maj. Akinori Hosomi, is still missing. He was taking part in an air combat training mission with three other F-35s on Tuesday evening when the pilot and aircraft lost contact with other members of the flight and disappeared from radar approximately 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Misawa Air Base in the northern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu.
The Lightning II went down approximately 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base, its home field in northeastern Japan, just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. A search team found parts of the downed aircraft’s left and right rudders in the water about two hours later, the JASDF said Wednesday.
It’s the first loss of an F-35A, a fifth-generation fighter, anywhere in the world. A Marine Corps F-35B, capable of short takeoffs and landings, crashed in September near the Marine air station in Beaufort, S.C.
U-2S(80-1084) seems to search the area south of the crash point of F-35.
There is possibility that He may be searching the south area considering the tide flow. pic.twitter.com/bmSW2YFZk7
— Golf9 (@KimagureGolf9) 13 April 2019