Debris found from missing American fighter jet 02:26 abroad The F-35B Lightning II disappeared on Sunday during a training mission. The pilot left the aircraft with his ejection seat. It is not yet clear what was going on.

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An American F-35B
NOS News

During the search for a missing fighter jet in the United States, search teams have found debris from the fighter plane. The wreckage was found in rural South Carolina, about two hours from the air base. The US Marine Corps heads to the site to recover the wreckage.

The F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft, better known as the Joint Strike Fighter, disappeared on Sunday during a training mission. The pilot left the aircraft worth around 75 million euros with his ejection seat and is in a stable condition in hospital. Nothing has been released about his identity.

It is not clear how the accident could have happened. In a statement, the army only spoke of “an accident” and that an investigation was underway. When the pilot left the aircraft, the fighter plane was in autopilot mode. Furthermore, it is not clear how the American Air Force could have lost a hypermodern fighter jet like this. The US military previously asked the public for help in the search.

Vertical take-off and landing

The F-35B Lightning II is one of the three variants of the billion-dollar Joint Strike Fighter program, to which the Netherlands also contributes. The F-35B can take off and land vertically.

The Dutch army also has F-35s, but that concerns the F-35A. It cannot take off and land vertically. The intention is that the Dutch Air Force will eventually acquire 52 of these aircraft. There is also an F-35-C, which is suitable for use on aircraft carriers.

The aircraft has, among other things, ultra-modern ‘stealth technology’, which makes the aircraft much more difficult to see for enemy radar systems.

  • F-35 lost after pilot used ejection seat in US
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