Search and rescue teams found wreckage from a crashed Japanese F-35 stealth fighter in the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan, and are scouring the waters for the missing pilot, authorities said.
The aircraft, less than a year old, was the first F-35 assembled in Japan and was aloft for only 28 minutes on Tuesday before contact was lost, a defense official said. The plane had logged a total of 280 hours in the air, he added.
It was only the second F-35 to crash since the aircraft's first flight in 2006 and could reignite concern about the F-35 having only one engine.
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin is competing for orders in Finland and Switzerland against the twin-engined Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F/A-18E/F jet.
The advanced, single-seat jet disappeared in good weather about 135 kilometers east of the Misawa air base in Aomori prefecture, the Air Self Defense Force said.
"We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from theF-35," a spokesman said.
Eight ships and seven aircraft, including a US Navy P-8 Orion maritime patrol plane, joined the search and rescue effort.