“Loses contact with” is not a good phrase, when used in conjunction with an aircraft. This is really not good.
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s military said on Tuesday it lost contact with one of its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan.
As I write this, I realize that I know precious little about safety equipment on military aircraft. Presumably they do not have a “black box” like a commercial passenger aircraft. On the other hand, since the plane is “fly by wire” and absolutely loaded with state of the art fancy electronic stuff, presumably there’s someplace that records something about what’s going on with the plane.
It’s too much to hope that the pilot accidentally leaned on the “stealth” button and made the plane invisible.
Losses with military aircraft are very different from civilian aircraft in another way, too: anyone who can grab pieces of classified stealth technology is going to. Of course, the Japanese will first and foremost be worried about the pilot, but they’ve also got a serious recovery effort on their hands. And, if they don’t find it, there will be spooky submersibles heading down there to try to keep other spooky submersibles from finding it first.