Not Good

“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.

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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.


  1. says

    I was thumbing through one of the aviation magazines the other day and it had a brief article on the USAF’s next fighter design. It’s only in the very preliminary project definition phase, but one source expects it will cost around 300 million dollars a copy.

  2. says

    Maybe we only need 3 top fighters to trash 5 top enemy fighters in an engagement when everything is working, but if we needed 5 top fighters to trash 3 fighters of any enemy we might reasonably expect to confront but the planes cost 1/5th what they do now and weren’t so bleeding edge that they required 11 days of down time for every 2-hour mission, we could field those fighters in ridiculous numbers – more than 5x current available numbers since you could buy 5x the planes and have them mission-capable at least twice as often, if not more. That’s a 10x force multiplier, with a plane that needs 2.4 x the numbers to do the job. Effectively, we’re 4x more kick ass going that route. But will we ever do it? Nope.

    Seriously, what if the “next gen” fighter was just an F-35 that worked just as well, but with less downtime and cheaper production/parts?

    heck, what if the “next gen” fighter was just an F-35 that worked? That would be a step up.

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