The Ministry of Defence now knows the location of the F-35B that crashed on take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
One of the carrier’s F-35B fighters, from 617 Squadron, crashed during operations in the Mediterranean last week. The pilot was able to eject safely.
National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove told the Commons Defence Committee yesterday:
“The pilot was recovered safely and is still undergoing medical checks. We are hopefully that he will be absolutely fine. It would be premature of me to comment on the reasons for the accident. The recovery of the flight data recorder and the wreckage are really vital for an accurate investigation to determine the causes of the crash. Clearly the swift recovery of the aircraft is what we would like to do and we are working closely with allies on the mechanics of that. We haven’t got the plane up yet.
‘We are aware of Russian undersea capabilities, and you are quite right to identify them as being state of the art. The kinds of precautions and operations that we are undertaking at the moment are designed at least in part to ensure that the technology of the F-35B remains as confidential as you would like it to be. Those security aspects are very much at the top of our mind. My understanding is that the experts know where the aircraft is.”
What caused the crash?
We don’t know.
What’s going on now?
Britain and America are currently engaged in operations to salvage an F-35B which ditched into the ocean after taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. It is understood that while the point at which the jet entered the sea was known, the aircraft’s wings made it glide underwater for a reasonable distance before settling to the bottom of the sea bed in a new location.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“There is an ongoing operation to recover the F-35 jet. I am pleased that our pilot is safe and well. We will investigate what happened.”
According to a report in The Times, Britain has asked the United States to help due to the close proximity of American salvage equipment based in Spain.