British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

A UK F-35B Lightning II stealth jet has crashed into the Mediterranean sea while on patrol with the UK’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

The pilot ejected from the jet before it crashed into the ocean and has been safely returned to the aircraft carrier, as the MoD launches a full investigation.  

This is the first time the UK has lost one of the £100m fifth-generation stealth jets, which are on board the £3 billion warship HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The next-generation RAF F35 jet is understood to still be in the sea and has yet to be recovered after the crash at 10am this morning. 

The aircraft was one of eight UK fast-jets onboard the Royal Navy’s flagship, along with 10 US aircraft. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth is returning to the UK after leaving Britain on her maiden voyage seven months ago. Jets from the vessel previously participated in strikes against the remnants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

A British F-35B Lightning II stealth jet has crashed into the Mediterranean sea while on patrol with HMS Queen Elizabeth (file photo of a jet above the carrier) 

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

The jet was on board the £3 billion warship HMS Queen Elizabeth

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

The F35s can hover as the come into land meaning the need a smaller flight deck. Pictured, 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

According to the MoD: ‘A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.

‘The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.’ 

The attack jets are Big Lizzie’s air wing flying missions over the past seven months in the Mediterranean, Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

The stealth jet’s pilot will be debriefed, but investigators will want to test the aircraft’s complicated computer systems and high-tech control surfaces to see if these contributed to the crash. 

Several US F35s have been involved in crashes, with one Marine Corps jet clipping a refuelling aircraft.  

The 65,000-tonne Royal Navy flagship is returning to the UK from its maiden deployment, which included exercises with the Indian military.

It was part of the carrier strike group’s deployment to the Indo-Pacific amid heightened tensions with China in the region.

The jets are operated by the renowned 617 Squadron, also known as the ‘Dambusters’ squadron.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss spent time on board the vessel last month on the final day of her two-day visit to India.

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

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 generation’ fighter 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, by 2025.

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA
, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

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 ‘extras’ such 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.

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

 

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’.

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

, British F35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth CRASHES, The Today News USA

 

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.

In 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’ helmet

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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