The U.K. Ministry of Defense has confirmed that an F-35B Lightning stealth jet that was operating from the Royal Navy’s flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently underway in the eastern Mediterranean, crashed into the sea earlier today, soon after takeoff. Details are still limited, but the British pilot was able to eject safely and has been returned to the ship. The aircraft carrier is on its maiden operational cruise and this is the first loss of a Joint Strike Fighter while operating from the deck of an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship.
The F-35B crashed during routine flying operations at approximately 10:00 AM U.K. time this morning, and no other aircraft were involved in the mishap. The U.K. Ministry of Defense has offered no additional details about the circumstances of the incident, but has said that an investigation is now underway.
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.
— Ministry of Defence Press Office (@DefenceHQPress) November 17, 2021
More on #F35 crash:The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said The F35 jet ditched soon after take off . He said “we are pleased the pilot is safe and well and back on board. Mr Wallace said operational and training flights on board HMS QE carrier are continuing despite the incident
— Jonathan Beale (@bealejonathan) November 17, 2021
HMS Queen Elizabeth is back in the Mediterranean, having just recently transited north through the Suez Canal after having sailed to the Asia Pacific region as part of Carrier Strike Group 21, or CSG21, earlier this year, during a 26,000-nautical-mile cruise that plans to take in visits to 40 nations, as well as various bilateral and multinational exercises.
— GEOINT (@lobsterlarryliu) November 17, 2021