Have you seen an F-35 in South Carolina? U.S. Marines are looking for one missing…

F-35B US Marines © Benoit Denet

An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet has gone missing in South Carolina after the pilot safely ejected. The incident occurred north of Charleston, and the U.S. military is seeking assistance to locate the missing aircraft. Details about the jet’s equipment, such as whether its transponder was on or if it was carrying armaments, have not been disclosed.

The pilot successfully ejected and was transported to a local medical centre in stable condition. The search for the fighter jet involves emergency teams, the Navy, the FAA, the Civil Air Patrol, as well as local and state police agencies. Joint Base Charleston is leading the search and has asked the public to provide information if they have seen the plane or have any leads on its whereabouts.

The fighter jet was based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and was part of a squadron responsible for training pilots and support crews on the F-35, as well as participating in airshow demonstrations. The search is concentrated in the vicinity of Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, north of JB Charleston.

The cause of the pilot’s decision to abandon the aircraft is unknown, and the incident is under investigation. The crash is described as a “mishap,” and further details are being withheld to maintain the integrity of the investigative process.

This incident is the latest in a series of F-35 crashes, with the most recent occurring in 2018 in South Carolina, which was attributed to a faulty fuel tube. The F-35 programme has faced challenges and scrutiny over the years, but the aircraft remains a significant component of modern military capabilities, with each F-35B model costing around $80 million.


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