The US Navy has managed to jettison an F-35C fighter jet from one of its aircraft carriers into the South China Sea just months after the Royal Navy did the same with an F-35B in the Mediterranean.
F-35C Lightning II in a high G maneuver (not the vehicle in question).
The USS Karl Vinson had what the US Navy called a “landing accident” when one of its planes landed at sea. Its pilot got out and was picked up by a helicopter; he should be in a stable condition. Seven sailors were reportedly injured in the incident, three of whom were evacuated to Manila for treatment.
Images of the $100 million fighter plane wallowing in the sea inevitably found their way onto Twitter, mirroring a similar situation from earlier this month when photos of a British F-35B jump plane crashed from the front of HMS queen elizabeth also ended up in the cold wet stuff.
This image is an apt metaphor for the entire F-35 program that is still “at sea” after 21 years of development and untold billions of dollars spent https://t.co/bXGja4auJb pic.twitter.com/JZcRKl4SyD
– Giovanni de Briganti (@JoedeBrig) January 27, 2022
As previously reported, video surfaced of a British F-35B (the short takeoff vertical landing version of the F-35 Lightning II) as the aircraft suffered a takeoff accident, a result of the deck crew failing to remove a critical blind cover had. The aircraft failed to accelerate on takeoff and instead pitched over the bow of the 65,000-ton warship.
Likewise, the US jet landing mishap, which was revealed this week, could have deeper repercussions. CNN quoted a former US Navy official as saying China could claim salvage rights to the body of the sunken jet and give China direct access to all its secrets.
Such a move is dubious – the US is unlikely to let China fish the wreckage of the F-35C before electing Xi Jinping as US president – but the fact that someone has brought it up underscores tensions over China’s territorial ties Claims over the South China Sea. which are not widely supported. The international community largely views them as attempted land grabs.
The jet, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, was conducting a routine training mission when the pilot encountered difficulties. The registry I had a try at an F-35B simulator a few years ago (someone has to endure these tough tasks to let the general public know what’s really going on) and the landing of the plane seemed extraordinary with a high level of automation to be easy
Automation failure would throw the pilot back on basic stick and rudder skills, potentially leading to an accident if he or she were not prepared. Flight safety experts refer to such unexpected scenarios as “frightening”. ®