Russia And China Are Also Looking For The Wreckage Of The Crashed Japanese F-35. What Secrets Can They Reveal?

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KIEV, Ukraine ( – Last week, on Tuesday, Japanese military officials said they had lost an F-35 fighter at 84 miles from the east coast of the Aomori Prefecture in the Pacific Ocean. The Ukrainian online media Strana believes that Russia and China are currently looking for the wreckage of the crashed plane, learned

Read more: The Japan Air Self-Defense Force Confirmed that a Missing F-35A has Crashed

“The Americans think that Russia and China will do their best to find the crashed plane. If they find it and can recover it, it can seriously undermine the US aviation’s superiority that the US hoped to maintain over the next few decades”.

Russia and China probably will not be able to reconstruct all the functions of the F-35, but each of its technologies, being fallen into the hands of other countries, will be a blow to the very heart of the US military.

Lieutenant General David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), told Business Insider: “The main point is that if Japan and America fail to get quickly the jet back, it will be undesirable for the US Air Force’s future”.

Read more: What is the Real Technical Risk for F-35 if Turkey has the S-400 Anti-Aircraft System?

“China and Russia are ready to pay dearly for getting the lost Japanese F-35 and that’s a problem,” Tom Moore, an expert on Russia and arms proliferation, writes in his Twitter blog.

Actually, if Russia or China, using their modern and invisible submarines to explore the ocean floor, first finds the jet aircraft, they will receive a whole bunch of secrets about the most expensive weapon system in the history of the world.

According to the US military, the crash of the F-35 into the Pacific Ocean represents the first chance in history for Russia and China to conduct a search for one of these aircrafts in natural conditions because such an accident has earlier occurred only once; what’s more, in the territory of the United States.

Read more: Japan is on the Way of Boasting about its First F-35 Operational Unit

By reverse engineering of the technology, Moscow and Beijing can build their own versions of the fighter jet.

“For Russia and China, the usefulness of recovering some or all of the wreckage would depend on how much damage the aircraft sustained upon hitting the water,” told BI Justin Bronk, a combat- aviation expert at the Royal United Services Institute.

“The general shape of the jet is well known, as well as its performance characteristics, and therefore not many things to be understood in this field. However, parts of the radar and other sensors would be a desirable find that can work on recovering and testing, and even to make an attempt to reverse design”, he added.

Above all, Russia has submarines designed for immersion and exploration of great depth. The US and Japan have modern capabilities of searching for the crashed aircraft into the sea, but they mainly use two outdated US rescue ships and large atomic submarines that are not very suitable for rescue missions.

Read more: The First Operational F-35A Lightning II for the Needs of the RNLAF Was Celebrated

Currently, all parties know where the F-35 was last seen. It may have flown a lot of miles, and the currents may have dragged it further. In other words, part of it can be found in every area of the region.

Russia and China know what the F-35 looks like. There are even some assumptions that China has managed to get the fighter jet plans. However, the US military say that even if they have them, Beijing and Russia do not get an up-to-date production know-how that is being kept in the US.

The presence only of composite material used for the F-35 jet engines would not necessarily allow China to produce such materials at its own will. Knowing the characteristics of the fuselage would not necessarily allow Russia to produce independently that kind of aircrafts as the F-35.

The F-35 low observability and its performance are a small part of the real significance of the aircraft to the US military. The rest is related to the network interaction technologies, the sensor fusion and the security of communication.

Read more: USA to Turkey: Because of the Russian S-400 Your Deliveries Associated with F-35 Have Been Suspended

In this regard, according to Bronk, the aircraft won’t immediately reveal its secrets.

“They will get samples or coatings for camouflaging fibrous materials”, says Bronk. “But all the important software and programming of the aircraft are likely to be difficult to recover, considering not only the potential damage from the accident and the salty water in the Pacific, but also that aircraft’s sensitive systems are designed in such a way that it is very difficult to be deciphered and redesigned in order to make it more suitable for export.”.

Despite all the efforts of the United States, if Russia or China gets a part of the F-35, the event will become a nightmare for the US security.

“Both China and Russia have excellent skills for reconstruction /reverse engineering/ copying, especially the Chinese, as they are masters of this”, explains Deptula.

Read more: If Turkey Is Ejected from the F-35 Program, It Would Deal an Immediate Blow to the Production Rate for New Planes

Bronk and Deptula agreed that now there is a race for the crashed F-35 in many countries. The results will clarify the future of the aircraft that the Americans see as a key to the success of the US aviation and their allies.

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Translator editor: Monika Evgenieva
Source: Focus military News Agency, Strana