£100m F-35 fighter jet that toppled off HMS Queen Elizabeth is FOUND

Wreckage of £100m F-35 fighter jet that toppled off HMS Queen Elizabeth is FOUND on Mediterranean seabed – as top security adviser says recovery will be ‘cautiouswith Putin’s navy likely to be watching

  • The £100million F-35 fighter jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on take-off has been found
  • Aircraft plunged into the sea earlier this month while conducting routine flying operations in the region
  • It accelerated up ramp of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck, before pilot ejected when plane reached top
  • The incident triggered underwater race to find the wreckage before Russian divers could get there first
  • Top security adviser said ‘cautiousapproach will be taken over recovery as Moscow is likely to be watching
  • F-35 fiasco: How Britain’s £100m fighter jet crashed and why it matters

    What happened to the F-35?

    One of Britain’s £100million F-35 fighter jets crashed in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month. MoD officials said it plunged into the waters while conducting routine flying operations in the region on take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot managed to eject the plane before the aircraft ditched.

    A sailor leaked film of the warplane crashing into the sea on take-off. In a shocking security breach, the 16-second clip was copied using a smartphone and put on Twitter. The film is of poor quality and not operationally sensitive, but its appearance on social media has dismayed Navy bosses.

    So what happened next?

    The incident triggered a frantic underwater race to find the wreckage. Britain is understood to have worked with the Americans to recover the jet. The operation, shrouded in secrecy, is understood to have involved divers, miniature submarines and inflatable bags which may be used to lift the plane to the surface of the Mediterranean.

    What caused the crash?

    It is unclear what exactly caused the crash. しかしながら, investigators suspect the jet plummeted into the Mediterranean while taking off because the cheap rain covers had not been taken off properly.

    Officials believe the rain cover was sucked into the stealth plane’s engine as it took off from the flight deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

    Why did security officials panic over the crash?

    The crash is embarrassing for the Government. The plane was the first F-35B that Britain has lost and the incident is the first mishap for both the RAF’s F-35B fleet and for HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest aircraft carrier.

    It raises questions about the quality of the F-35B, of which Britain currently has 24. The UK is set to buy 138 of the jets from US aviation giant Lockheed Martin for £9.1billion in the coming years, と 48 of those expected to be delivered by 2025.

    The technology aboard the US-designed aircraft, including top secret radar and sensors, is hugely sensitive as it allows the F-35 to fly ‘unseenin hostile territory at supersonic speeds – meaning it would be of interest to rivals such as Russian.

    しかしながら, it is likely that China already knows all there is to know about the jet due to its advanced spying.

    Is this the first time an F-35B has crashed?

    番号, this is the seventh time an F-35B has crashed.

    • 六月 23, 2014 – A USAF F-35A had a catastrophic engine fire caused by a fractured rotor which saw it turn into a blaze as it took off in Florida;
    • 10月 27, 2016 – A US Marine Corp F-35B set alight mid-flight due to a fire in its weapons bay before the pilot landed safely in Beaufort, サウスカロライナ;
    • 9月 28, 2018 – All operational F-35s were grounded while a probe was launched into why a fuel tube failed in flight after a horror crash at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina;
    • 4月 9, 2019 – Parts of the tail of a Japanese F-35 were found in the sea around 85 miles east of Misawa during a training mission;
    • 五月 19, 2020 – This F-35 crash on landing was caused by a tired, distracted pilot and unresponsive tail glitch;
    • 9月 20, 2020 – A F-35 stealth fighter jet fell out of the sky and exploded on the ground after hitting a KC-130J tanker in a mid-air collision near the Salton Sea in Imperial County, カリフォルニア.
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    The F-35 fighter jet that crashed into the Mediterranean on take-off from Britain’s £3billion aircraft carrier has been found.

    The £100million aircraft plunged into the sea earlier this month while conducting routine flying operations in the region.

    It accelerated up the ramp of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck, before the pilot ejected when the plane reached the top.

    The incident triggered a frantic underwater race to find the wreckage of the F-35B stealth jet and secure the crash site a mile below the surface before Russian divers could get there first.

    It is unclear what exactly caused the crash. しかしながら, investigators suspect the jet plummeted into the Mediterranean while taking off because the cheap rain covers had not been taken off properly.

    Officials believe the rain cover was sucked into the stealth plane’s engine as it took off from the flight deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

    National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove told MPs that a cautious approach will be taken over its recovery as Moscow is likely to be watching. He declined to reveal why the accident occurred.

    The official told the Commons Defence Committee yesterday: ‘The pilot was recovered safely and is still undergoing medical checks. We are hopefully that he will be absolutely fine. It would be premature of me to comment on the reasons for the accident.

    ‘The recovery of the flight data recorder and the wreckage are really vital for an accurate investigation to determine the causes of the crash. Clearly the swift recovery of the aircraft is what we would like to do and we are working closely with allies on the mechanics of that. We haven’t got the plane up yet.

    ‘We are aware of Russian undersea capabilities, and you are quite right to identify them as being state of the art.

    ‘The kinds of precautions and operations that we are undertaking at the moment are designed at least in part to ensure that the technology of the F-35 remains as confidential as you would like it to be. Those security aspects are very much at the top of our mind.

    ‘My understanding is that the experts know where the aircraft is.

    Sir Stephen was also questioned about growing fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine as tensions in eastern Europe simmer. Yesterday the Foreign Secretary and the head of MI6 warned the Kremlin against taking any action against Kiev that it would regret.

    ‘What I would say to anybody in Russia considering this is there is never going to be a good time to make an incursion into Ukraine,’ Sir Stephen said.

    ‘They should not make the mistake of interpreting a withdrawal from Afghanistan as a lack of willingness on the part of Western allies to stand up for sovereign democracies, wherever they are in the world but certainly in mainland Europe.

    ‘I am aware that Russian actions sometimes seem to be driven by an opportunistic type of motivation, and I would counsel them very, very clearly not to fall into that trap now. I can absolutely assure the committee and my Russian counterpart that there will be considerably more activity than a mere condemnation.

    The plane was the first F-35B that Britain has lost and the incident is the first mishap for both the RAF’s F-35B fleet and for HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest aircraft carrier.

    It raises questions about the quality of the F-35B, of which Britain currently has 24. The UK is set to buy 138 of the jets from US aviation giant Lockheed Martin for £9.1billion in the coming years, と 48 of those expected to be delivered by 2025.

    The technology aboard the US-designed aircraft, including top secret radar and sensors, is hugely sensitive as it allows the F-35 to fly ‘unseenin hostile territory at supersonic speeds – meaning it would be of interest to rivals such as Russian.

    しかしながら, it is likely that China already knows all there is to know about the jet due to its advanced spying.

    The pilot, who suffered minor injuries, ejected and his parachute can be seen floating down towards the water. He was quickly recovered but the jet glided underwater to an estimated depth of more than a mile. It was one of eight British F-35s aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. 全体, the UK has 24 F-35s and this was the first major incident involving any.

    The F-35 is a cutting-edge warplane with stealth and intelligence-gathering capabilities which can fly at supersonic speeds without being detected on radar.

    It recently emerged that Russia had been playing close attention to HMS Queen Elizabeth with a significant increase in aircraft activity nearby. The 65,000-ton ship is sailing back to Britain after her maiden voyage around the world.

    Soon after taking off on 'routine exercise' from the Royal Navy's flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, the F-35B Lightning (ファイル画像) ditched into the sea and a rescue team was sent out to recover the pilot

    Soon after taking off on ‘routine exercisefrom the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, the F-35B Lightning (ファイル画像) ditched into the sea and a rescue team was sent out to recover the pilot

    By plunging into international waters, the crash triggered a scramble to recover the next-generation jet from the sea bed before it could be reached by foreign powers, particularly Russia. 上: File image of HMS Queen Elizabeth

    By plunging into international waters, the crash triggered a scramble to recover the next-generation jet from the sea bed before it could be reached by foreign powers, particularly Russia. 上: File image of HMS Queen Elizabeth

    New footage has emerged which appears to show the moment a £100m fighter jet crashes into the Mediterranean during an operation onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth on November 17

    Video appears to capture the moment the pilot ejects from the jet as it leaves the flight deck

    New footage has emerged which appears to show the moment a £100m fighter jet crashes into the Mediterranean during an operation onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth on November 17

    An RAF pilot was forced to eject over the Mediterranean, sending his £100million stealth jet crashing into the sea

    An RAF pilot was forced to eject over the Mediterranean, sending his £100million stealth jet crashing into the sea

    The F35s can hover as the come into land meaning the need a smaller flight deck. 写真, an F-35B fighter jet prepares to land on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai's coast on October 21

    The F35s can hover as the come into land meaning the need a smaller flight deck. 写真, an F-35B fighter jet prepares to land on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai’s coast on October 21

    F-35 pilot ‘was left dangling from flight deck after ejecting

    The unnamed pilot who ejected from the stricken F-35 jet was then left dangling left from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier which he had taken off from.

    Rockets in his plane’s seat blasted him more than 100feet upwards before his parachute opened.

    But a source told The Sun that when the pilot floated back down towards the warship, he ‘came within inchesof hitting the flight deck. 代わりに, a cross-wind is said to have blown him sideways, where his parachute lines then became snagged on the edge of the 900feet long runway.

    The quick-thinking pilot was then left dangling from the edge of the warship, around 60feet above the water.

    He pulled an escape pin which released him from his harness and he then plunged into the water.

    A search and rescue helicopter was then used to pluck him out of the water.

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    Sources told the Sun the pilot realised the issue and tried to abort take-off but was unable to stop the plane before the end of the ship’s runway.

    They said naval personnel realised the issue ‘almost right awaybecause rules around removing covers and engine blanks before flights are ‘incredibly strict’.

    Commander Tom Sharpe, a former Royal Navy officer told Sky News: ‘Given how close the aircraft ditched to the bow, and the speed of the ship on launch, the likelihood of it hitting the bow of the ship (under the waterline) would be quite high.

    ‘Warship steel is not that thick so, even despite the weight discrepancy between the two, I would want the compartments near the bow checked immediately… I would then want the hull dived on at the first opportunity, just to be sure.

    The UK had worked with the US on a mission to recover the wreckage which is believed to be more than a mile below the surface.

    The operation, shrouded in secrecy, is understood to involve divers, miniature submarines and inflatable bags which may be used to lift the plane to the surface of the Mediterranean.

    The incident is the first mishap for the RAF’s F-35B fleet and for the £3billion aircraft carrier which left the UK seven months ago.

    The technology onboard the US-designed aircraft, including top secret radar and sensors, is hugely sensitive as it allows the F-35 to fly ‘unseenin hostile territory at supersonic speeds.

    The Lightning is described by the RAF as a fifth generation combat aircraft capable of conducting air-to-surface strikes and electronic warfare.

    The aircraft uses an array of sensors to operate undetected in enemy airspace.

    There were understood to be not only eight British F-35s aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth but also ten US aircraft.

    They have conducted some 2,000 take-offs and landings without incident. When not deployed on the carrier, the UK’s F-35Bs are stationed at RAF Marham in Norfolk as part of 617 飛行隊 (the ‘Dambusters’).

    The Ministry of Defence previously said: ‘We are aware of a video circulating online. It is too soon to comment on causes

    ‘Recovery efforts are ongoing and the Defence Accident Investigation Branch will report back their preliminary findings in due course.

    F-35: How the planes serving HMS Elizabeth have been plagued with problems

    The delivery of the RAF’s new, US-built F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in July 2021 marked a rare moment of celebration in what has been a troubled project.

    The ‘fifth generationfighter aircraft is the world’s most expensive weapons system, though costs have finally stabilised at an eye-watering $406billion.

    Manufacturer Lockheed-Martin agreed to cap costs after US President Donald Trump critised the project and even tweeted support for a rival aircraft.

    Britain is currently embarked on a £9.1billion programme to purchase 48 of the F-35s, from American aviation giant Lockheed Martin, 沿って 2025.

    One of the first four F-35B Lightning II aircraft arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk on June 6, 2018

    One of the first four F-35B Lightning II aircraft arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk on June 6, 2018

    America enticed its Nato and other allies into sharing the cost of the aircraft by offering input into manufacture and 15 per cent of each one is comprised of parts from British companies while some of the jets will be made in Italy.

    But the planes have been plagued by a catalogue of problems which have sent costs soaring.

    There are fears about shortcomings in the technical systems underpinning the new generation of war planes will leave them unable to function properly.

    The true cost of the British planes delivered this year is estimated to be over £150million each to cover ‘extrassuch as software upgrades and spare parts.

    There are also concerns plane’s software system is vulnerable to cyber-attack and cannot be tested independently by the UK.

    The weak broadband on the Royal Navy’s principal aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is also hampering the jet’s abilities.

    The problems are not helped by the department responsible for the computer networks essential to the aircraft’s operation needs to find savings of £400 million this year.

    The reports into the costs and other problems prompted the Defence Select Committee to launch an inquiry into the project.

    It reprimanded the Ministry of Defence for keeping parliament and the public in the dark about the costs.

    The MoD has so far refused to provide the estimated cost to the UK of buying the F-35, beyond referring to a National Audit Office which used the £9.1billion figure.

    MPs said ‘it is simply not acceptable for the MoD to refuse to disclose to parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme’.

    Though the cost of the F-35 has been the focus of attention, there have also been embarrassing reports of operational shortcomings emerging from the United States.

    In a mock air battle in 2015, the cutting edge plane was defeated by an older generation F-16, a plane designed in the 1970s.

    に 2020 Pentagon tests found 276 different faults in jet’s combat system.

    They included the 25mm cannon vibrating excessively and problems with the he aircraft’s ‘virtual reality’ ヘルメット

    Overheating, premature wear of components in the vertical tails and vulnerability to fire were also found to be issues.

    The US Air Force temporarily grounded dozens its F-35 stealth fighters while it investigated an oxygen supply issue.

    The Marine Corps, who also operate the same F-35B model the UK has purchased, was forced to ground its planes after flaws were found in the computer system.

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