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 is known, the aircraft’s wings would have made it glide underwater for a reasonable distance before settling to the bottom of the sea bed.
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.
F-35 operations are now continuing onboard British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth after one of the jets crashed into the sea after taking off from the ship last week.
— Commander UK Carrier Strike Group (@smrmoorhouse) November 20, 2021
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.
The Ministry of Defence said:
“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.”
A number of British and American F-35 jets are based on HMS Queen Elizabeth. The aircraft carrier and her strike group are on the return leg of a global deployment.