The United States Military has sought public help to track and found out the missing F-35 Jet after a mishap caused its pilot to eject on September 17, 2023, A stealth-capable US fighter jet vanished not from prying eyes but rather from the American Military prompting an unusual call to the public to help locate the multi-million-dollar fighter aircraft
The search for a missing F-35 fighter jet began after a pilot of US Marine Corps pilot safely ejected from the aircraft over North Charleston. Military officials focused on two lakes north of North Charleston after the pilot ejected and parachuted safely at about 2 PM local time. The pilot was able to safely eject from the aircraft and the jet was in autopilot mode before ejection.
Condition of the Pilot
The pilot was taken to a local hospital where he was in stable condition, the officials informed without sharing details. Based on the missing plane location and trajectory, the search for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft was focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion. Both the lakes are located North of Charleston.
The search is aided by a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter after some bad weather cleared the area. The military officials appealed in online posts for any help from the public in locating the aircraft as officials are still investigating why the pilot ejected. The pilot of a second F-35 returned safely to Joint-based Charleston. Both the plane and pilots were with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 based in Beaufort. Emergency Response teams have been deployed to find out about the jet
Help from the Public
“if you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defence Operations Center,” a message and post read on X (formerly Twitter)
“Anyone with information about the jet’s whereabouts is urged to contact JB Charleston Base Defence Operations Center at 843-963-360,” the Joint Base Charleston Facebook account wrote.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is the manufacturer behind the F-35, a single-seat fighter craft used by militaries around the world. The aircraft was a vertical take-off version used by the US Marine Corps, and the jet is popular for its stealth qualities that make it difficult to detect by radar.
Importance of F-35 Lightning-II
The F-35 program, the most expensive US weapons program ever, is projected to cost $400 billion in development and acquisition, plus an additional $1.2 trillion to operate and maintain the fleet over more than 60 years. Each jet can cost more than $160 million, depending on the variant.
It is not the first time an F-35 has been in trouble. An F-35B version crashed in 2018 in Beaufort County, South Carolina, because of a manufacturing defect in a fuel tube, according to the Government Accounting Office’s report. The following year, a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter plunged into the ocean during an exercise over the Pacific Ocean, which Japan blamed on pilot disorientation, rather than technical issues.