(INVESTORS) – Boeing (BA) isn't the only aerospace giant dealing with grounded planes. Japan grounded its fleet of Lockheed Martin (LMT) F-35 stealth fighters after one when missing over the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, less than two weeks after declaring its first F-35 squadron combat ready.
Local media reported that the missing F-35 was one of four that took off from Misawa Air Base in northern Honshu island for a training mission. A search has begun, and Japan's defense minister said the 12 remaining Lockheed F-35 jets will be grounded.
Japan operates the F-35A, or the conventional takeoff variant that the U.S. Air Force also flies. It recently OK'd plans to buy 105 more F-35s, adding to the 42 F-35As already on order and making Japan the largest foreign buyer of the F-35 after the U.K.
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The additional order will reportedly include 63 F-35A models and 42 short-takeoff-vertical-landing F-35B variants that the U.S. Marine Corps also flies.