A Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning II crashed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on November 17 at around 10 a.m. UK time.
The aircraft was operating off the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. The ship is on its first deployment.
Information is still limited, but the UK Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the pilot was able to eject himself and returned to the ship unharmed.
Ben Wallace, the British Defense Minister said the F-35 gave up shortly after takeoff. “We are delighted that the pilot is safe and sound and back on board.” Wallace went on to say that operational and training flights aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth continued despite the incident.
The pilot was with 617 Squadron (Dambusters).
The F-35 was performing routine operations at the time of the accident. No other aircraft were involved in the incident.
The UK has 24 F-35Bs of which 21 have already been delivered and three to the US for testing.
HMS Queen Elizabeth operates as part of Carrier Strike Group 21. Strike Group includes HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Richmond, HMS Kent, US ship USS The Sullivans, Dutch ship HNLMS Evertsen, two Royal Fleet Auxilliary ships – RFA Tidespring and RFA Fort Victoria, and the Asute-class submarine, HMS Artful.
In addition to the 8 Royal Air Force F-35s on board, the aircraft carrier‘s air wing also included 10 United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 based at Marine Air Base. Yuma Corps, Arizona.
The current 28-week deployment has called on the group to cover 26,000 nautical miles and conduct more than 70 engagements in 40 different countries.
This is the fifth crash of an F-35.
The first was a 2018 Marine Corps F-35B that crashed in South Carolina in 2018. The following year, a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-35A flying from Misawa Air Base went missing. of the rdar.
In March 2020, a US Air Force pilot safely ejected from an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. And in September 2020, a Marine Corps F-35B crashed in California after colliding with a KC-10.