Marine Corps F-35B Crashes in South Carolina

 In Military

An F-35B Lightning II attached to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 crashed this morning near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The pilot ejected safely, and was evaluated by medical personnel.

The plane crashed at around 11:45 a.m. on a small island about 5 miles from the Air Station near Joe Allen Drive. This marks the first time an F-35B has crashed, but one did have to make an emergency landing back in April. USMC has been training pilots to use the stealth fighter, but has run into complications over spare parts.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office released this statement:

“The pilot in this morning’s military plane crash on Little Barnwell Island safely ejected and was rescued by responding emergency services personnel. The pilot was transported to a medical facility for evaluation. There were no other injuries reported. The scene of the crash is secured. Residents and guests are asked to temporarily avoid Little Barnwell Island and the Grays Hill Boat Landing, while emergency services personnel assess the area for safety. Questions regarding the type of aircraft involved in the crash and the condition of the pilot should be referred to the military. Thank you for your patience.”

The F-35 is considered one of the most expensive aircraft in US military history. It needs less takeoff area, and is a vertical landing variant of the aircraft, allowing the pilot to hover and land vertically like a helicopter. That ability is essential for Marines, who have to take off from amphibious ships rather than aircraft carriers – the decks are shorter.

On Thursday, September 27,  the Marine Corps F-35B conducted its first combat mission in Afghanistan. The aircraft were attached to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. They took out a “fixed target in support of ground clearing operations.”

The F-35B deployed to the Middle East aboard the USS Essex. Military Times wrote:

“Although the Marine Corps is the first U.S. service to fly its joint strike fighters in combat, the aircraft has been used by the Israeli air force to strike targets. In May, Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed that the country’s F-35 “Adir” fighters had seen combat in two airstrikes somewhere in the Middle East.

The Marine Corps declared the F-35B operational in 2015, becoming the first service to integrate the joint strike fighter into its fleet. The Air Force followed by declaring initial operational capability for the F-35A conventional variant in 2016, while the Navy plans to declare IOC on the F-35C carrier variant in February 2019.”


Featured photo: screenshot via twitter

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