- US Military Seeks Public Assistance in Locating Missing F-35B Fighter Jet
- Pilot Ejects Safely After Aircraft Goes Missing in South Carolina
- Questions Raised About Tracking and Recovery of the Expensive Stealth Jet
The US military has urged the public for assistance in locating one of its $100 million (£80 million) F-35B fighter jets after the pilot ejected.
It vanished while the pilot was traveling over the southern state of South Carolina on a Sunday afternoon.
The unnamed aviator successfully ejected and parachuted to safety. In the hospital, his condition is stable.
Officials stated that the aircraft was involved in a “mishap” but did not elaborate.
It was in autopilot mode when the pilot evacuated, a Joint Base Charleston spokesman told NBC News, and it may have been in the air for some time.
Officials said they were focusing their inquiries around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, north of the city of Charleston.
The search area was predicated on the last known location of the aircraft.
South Carolina Republican Representative Nancy Mace inquired on X, formerly Twitter, “How in the hell do you lose an F-35?
“How is it that there is not a tracking device, and we’re asking the public to, what, find a jet and turn it in?”
The aircraft is a stealth jet, which means that its airframe, sensors, and systems are designed to avoid detection by hostile radar.
Joint Base Charleston posted a request for assistance on X. “Emergency response teams are still trying to locate the F-35,” the report stated.
As the endeavor continues, the public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities.
Anyone with intelligence that could aid its recovery teams was encouraged to contact its operations center.
Flightradar24 published an image on X depicting multiple aircraft investigating the area.
The Marine Corps stated in a statement that its current understanding of the incident was “limited” and that it was still gathering more information.
It was also stated that the incident would be investigated.
The aircraft costs approximately $100 million, according to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Major Melanie Salinas, a military spokeswoman, told the Associated Press that a second F-35 flying at the same time returned safely to base.
After a crash in South Carolina in 2018, the US military temporarily grounded its complete fleet of F-35 jets.